Liberal Democrats across Bath and North East Somerset are backing a proposed new law to boost and promote clean community energy.
The “Local Electricity Bill”, promoted by campaigners Power for People, aims to remove the unfair regulations and excessive costs which prevent local energy projects from getting started.
The proposed Bill has already gained the support of 198 MPs, including Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse, and hundreds of organisations and local authorities.
It would make it easier for community groups to start up renewable energy projects and sell the electricity to local consumers.
In a motion coming before B&NES Council later this week, councillors will formally back the Bill and add the Council’s voice to calls for it to become law.
Member Advocate for Renewable Energy, Councillor Alastair Singleton, who will propose the motion commented: “Community renewable energy initiatives are one of our great success stories in B&NES.
“We already have a vibrant, creative and successful community energy sector, which is recognised as a national leader.
“However, local generators are barred from becoming direct energy suppliers.
“They can’t sell their electricity directly to local residents because of the huge legal and structural barriers to becoming an official supplier. Instead, they must sell to the national grid at wholly uneconomic prices.
“Removing these barriers could see growth in both existing and new local generation schemes. There is enormous potential and a strong appetite in our area to raise local funds for further community-owned production.
“Businesses and community organisations could become local suppliers, and this would keep money within the community, help tackle fuel poverty and create new green jobs.
“The benefits to our communities could be immense.
“As we face the climate and ecological emergencies, we need to increase local renewable energy generation massively in order to cut carbon emissions and provide energy resilience for the future.
“The Local Electricity Bill is an opportunity to unleash and empower local entrepreneurship in support of a green renewal of our local economy.”
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, added: “I am delighted to support the new Local Electricity Bill in Parliament, and so pleased to see my fellow Lib Dems in Bath & North East Somerset backing this proposed new law.
“The Bill will empower and enable new community energy companies to sell energy they generate directly to local people, helping to strengthen local economies.
“This would be a real win for Bath and for the rest of our country given the economic shock of the pandemic.
“The Bill will also help accelerate our transition to clean energy, which is critical in avoiding the potential economic and ecological devastation of climate change. I will do all that I can to ensure it becomes law.”
Steve Shaw, Director of Power for People, who are co-ordinating the national public campaign for the Bill, added: “We thank and congratulate the Lib Dems in Bath and North East Somerset for supporting the Local Electricity Bill.
“There is huge potential locally for communities to benefit from new renewable energy projects and new local energy companies. But these will only arrive if the antiquated rules governing our energy system are reformed.
“The Local Electricity Bill will do this by enabling local households and businesses to buy their electricity from clean, local providers directly.”