A coalition of organisations with over 12 million members, including Co-operative Energy, is urging MPs to support community-owned and controlled renewable energy projects.
The coalition is concerned that, as drafted, the Energy Bill currently before Parliament favours large commercial developers and would stifle the growth of the burgeoning community energy sector.
The coalition has written to all MPs asking them to support a community approach to the UK’s future energy needs. Customers of Co-operative Energy who would like to write to their MP on this subject can download a template letter here.
The coalition includes Co-operative Energy, The Co-operative Group; the National Trust; the National Federation of Women’s Institutes; Friends of the Earth; Co-operatives UK; and Transition Towns.
The coalition’s Community Energy Manifesto can be downloaded here.
The coalition believes that community ownership of energy projects empowers communities to decide upon and run their own energy projects in locally appropriate ways. It also benefits the local economy by keeping the profits generated within the community.
In Germany, an estimated 15% of all renewable electricity generation is owned by local communities, with over 600 energy co-operatives. In the UK this is around 1% but there are hundreds of energy groups with plans to generate renewable power.
Nigel Mason, Business Development Manager at Co-operative Energy, said: “We need to accelerate the development of a clean energy future. That’s why Co-operative Energy has pledged to buy its electricity from low carbon sources such as renewable energy. We also support community energy; in fact we buy from community energy schemes. So we are pleased to support the Community Energy Coalition in campaigning for a dramatic increase in the number of communities owning, controlling and benefiting from their own renewable energy projects.”