New Community Energy Manifesto

Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:18
Posted by Scott Buckler

In a move designed to enable a dramatic increase in communities controlling, generating, saving and benefiting from their own clean energy, a coalition of UK organisations with over 12 million members will today present a 'manifesto for a community energy revolution' to the Government

The Co-operative and sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future will bring together leading figures from the Church of England and civil society organisations such as The National Federation of Women's Institutes and the National Trust to  meet Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to launch the manifesto - which sets out a series of policy measures to increase community-owned renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

The Co-operative conservatively estimates the UK potential for community owned renewable energy installed by 2020 to be a significant 3.5 GW, the equivalent of four conventional power stations.

The manifesto calls on the Government to introduce a comprehensive and integrated framework of support to help achieve this potential. It includes:

national targets for community energy;promotion of community ownership as the route to increased public acceptance;the introduction of Government-backed advice and support services and;a financial framework including a higher community feed-in tariff and access to finance through the Green Investment Bank.

Paul Monaghan. Head of Socials at The Co-operative said: "The majority of people in the UK want to see a massive increase in renewable energy; however, there is a powerful minority set against this. Community-owned renewables offer a brilliant way to break this log jam, and this Manifesto sets out what needs to happen in order for this to happen. Our towns, villages and districts are full of hundreds of groups all chomping at the bit to do their bit to generate and save energy locally and fight climate change."

Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprise Director at the National Trust, said: "We know that when communities secure a stake in energy projects they are much more reassured that their own beautiful and fragile local landscapes and villages can embrace the proposals. Community energy can help empower local people to take control of their own energy futures and in a style that maintains and even enhances what makes local places special and cherished. We, like the rest of the Community Energy Coalition, are ready to work with the Government to support a big increase in community owned renewable energy and in particular create a step change in energy efficiency schemes."

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "There is huge enthusiasm for co-operatively owned energy. But it is very difficult for co-operatives to compete in the energy market, as regulations and incentives are designed for the bigger players. With the forthcoming Energy Bill, and the Community Energy Strategy, government has a chance to put this right, and make sure that co-operative and community schemes can contribute to a diverse low-carbon energy economy."

A recent ICM opinion poll, commissioned by The Co-operative, found an overwhelming 68 percent of the public would support local renewable energy projects, including wind, which were owned by and benefited the community. Compared to just 7 percent that would not. 77 percent of respondents agreed that communities should benefit from local renewable energy projects.

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