As a Co-operative Party Parliamentary Candidate I support these proposals to encourage communities to develop schemes to generate their own electricity. It will bring about real change which will keep bills down and put the power in the hands of local people, literally.
The Co-operative Party and SERA have set out plans for Britain to develop a 'Big Six Thousand' of community-owned energy suppliers to challenge the dominance of the 'Big Six' in the energy market - providing a fairer deal for consumers and reducing our carbon footprint.
In a new publication titled ‘The Next Generation,' sets out a vision for community energy in the UK. Drawing on lessons and examples from community owned renewable energy projects across the country, the pamphlet provides recommendations on how policymakers can facilitate a community energy revolution, unlocking the sector’s huge potential.
It sets out plans for the creation of a national community-owned renewable energy fund, community feed-in tariffs and renewable heat incentives as well as allowing community-owned energy groups to be able to supply energy direct to residents for the very first time.
Caroline Flint, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:
“Community energy has huge potential for the future of our energy mix, building a more open, democratic and sustainable energy market. I am determined to support its development so that we can replace a market dominated by the Big Six to one with thousands of generators and suppliers.
“This pamphlet makes an important and timely contribution to the debate. In the coming months I will be working with the Co-operative Party and SERA to develop proposals which will bring this vision into reality.
“This will include exploring the potential for direct delivery of community owned generation into homes and businesses, ensuring the regulatory environment supports the development of this sector, and championing local innovation and best practice.”
Karin Christiansen, General Secretary of the Co-operative Party said:
"With the cost of living crisis currently gripping the UK, consumers are increasingly unable to shield themselves from rising energy costs. There is a growing disparity between the daily struggle to keep homes warm and lit and the huge increase in profits per customer being realised by the 'Big Six.'
Community energy is a movement rooted in capturing social, financial and environmental returns for local people. With the right support, community owned renewable energy projects can offer a truly viable alternative - a 'Big Six Thousand' to provide a fairer deal for consumers and help to tackle climate change.'
The pamphlet’s vision is inspired by the example of Germany, where the right to generate has become the power to transform - providing the platform for constructing a more open, democratic and sustainable energy market. Over the course of a decade, renewable energy has become the largest supplier of electricity, providing for 28% of the country's electricity needs. More than 50% of this supply is owned by households, communities and farmers, with less than 13% owned by the utility companies.
This transformed energy market now operates without subsidy, having delivered 400,000 jobs and lower energy prices than five years ago. For Britain to undergo a German style energy revolution, all the evidence from pioneering energy markets suggests that renewable technologies are best deployed where policies and measures are directed at bringing together communities of households and businesses.
To read the full pamphlet go to www.party.coop/nextgen
To read an Independent on Sunday story on the Next Generation pamphlet click here: