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ResPublica Responds to The Energy and Climate Change Committee’s Latest Report

7th August 2013

  • ResPublica

ResPublica contributes to the ECC Committee’s inquiry into Local Energy and makes the case for local renewable projects in an upcoming report

The Energy and Climate Change Committee yesterday published their report, Local Energy, presenting the findings of the Committee’s inquiry into the benefits of local renewable energy projects.
The consultation, for which ResPublica submitted evidence, found that financial support should be given to local renewable energy projects because of the benefits they can generate to communities and the country as a whole. Giving communities a stake in local energy projects, argues the report, has the potential to broaden public understanding of energy issues by encouraging energy-conscious behaviour and greater public engagement in carbon reduction initiatives. Greater use of local energy could also enhance the security and efficiency of the energy system as a whole.

The case for local renewable energy projects will be made in ResPublica’s upcoming report The Community Renewables Economy. This report will explore the potential for community renewables in the UK to start up, upscale and spin out by removing the barriers faced by those communities looking to get involved with local renewables. This forthcoming report will also highlight the joint venture models, where communities establish partnerships with developers, local businesses or local authorities as a means of overcoming the barriers to growth.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee argues that Government should encourage industry to offer a stake to local residents for all new developments by making a community ownership offer mandatory for all new developments. It also suggests that a support mechanism is needed to offer local renewable projects advice and help them address the key concerns surrounding issues of finance, planning and grid access.

Speaking on behalf of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Dr Alan Whitehead MP said:

“Encouraging schools, businesses and local authorities to generate some of their electricity locally can bring big benefits to communities and the UK as a whole. Businesses can reduce their energy overheads, locals can potentially benefit from cheaper electricity or heat, and councils can use projects to tackle fuel poverty, cut costs and reduce carbon emissions.”

“Businesses can reduce their energy overheads, locals can potentially benefit from cheaper electricity or heat, and councils can use projects to tackle fuel poverty, cut costs and reduce carbon emissions.”

“Although it is unlikely that local energy projects will eliminate the need for larger, centralised power stations completely, with some Government support they could provide a significant proportion of the UK’s energy capacity while reducing carbon emissions and increasing efficiency.”

ResPublica welcomes the report and further argues that the Government should support and promote community ownership of energy, in the same way that ownership of housing stock is supported and promoted.

As part of the consultation, ResPublica submitted evidence to show that there are; an increasing number of joint-ownership projects between local communities and commercial developers, financial problems faced by communities embarking on energy ventures and cheaper energy tariffs available to communities near local renewable projects.

Press enquiries to press@respublica.org.uk.

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