New community rights, including the right to invest in ownership of local electricity distribution grids, incorporated in Energy Generation (Planning and Right to Invest) Bill
The shadow minister
for civil society and Chair of the Co-operative Party, Gareth Thomas MP,
yesterday introduced a Bill to Parliament that would seek to boost the
community energy sector.
The Energy Generation
(Planning and Right to Invest) Bill has been introduced "to require new
energy generation companies to offer a proportion of shares for purchase by
residents in local communities; [and] to provide that residents in local
communities have the right to invest in ownership of local electricity
distribution grids", amongst other entitlements.
reflect the recommendations to emerge from ResPublica's recent publication, Re-energising Our Communities: Transforming
the market through local energy production, released last month.
ResPublica argues for
the right or entitlement for communities to own their local distribution grids
and for greater opportunities for communities to co-operatively own a
proportion of shares offered by new energy generation companies in their local
The paper also
proposes the need to introduce hybrid legal models to allow for community-owned
and led energy generation to take place in partnership with private companies
in order to attract further investment and enable such projects to grow.
include the community 'presumption in favour of use' of local assets, to allow
communities to make use of local land, space and roofs for community energy
generation to take place.
In introducing the
Bill into Parliament, Gareth Thomas MP said, "My Bill seeks to keep within
local communities more of the wealth and power that our need for energy
creates. The motivation behind the Bill is to make communities more resilient
by helping to keep a little more of the wealth from energy generation in local
further that community energy generation has much more potential to enter the
national energy market, and should be taken into consideration by the
Department of Energy and Climate Change in its upcoming reforms to the energy
Senior Researcher at ResPublica and co-author of the paper, said, "Our
paper calls on Government, the industry and communities to instead turn to the
opportunities that lie on the side of production, rather than giving weight to
greater market efficiency and increased competition amongst the larger energy
suppliers alone. A ‘responsible capitalism’ may begin to call markets to
account, but a truly transformative capitalism will place markets back into the
hands of the people."
the Bill, but also proposes a number of additional innovative opportunities
that could be harnessed to open up the energy market to communities.
To extend the thesis
and recommendations set out in the paper, ResPublica intend to develop a
full-length research project that will continue to explore the potential for
community energy to become part of national and local markets. As part of the
2012 UN Year of the Co-operatives ResPublica will also be hosting an event on
community energy co-operatives later this Spring.
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