Community-scale clean energy is an important tool in the fight against the climate emergency, which is why I am committed to the expansion of it.
Community-generated energy has significant advantages. It can reduce strain on the overall grid, tap into the resources and enthusiasm of residents who want to decarbonise their energy supply faster than the existing distribution network, and provide a powerful tool to build public support for the transition to clean energy.
I therefore support proposals to allow the creation of Local Energy Communities (LECs). These would be wholly community-owned, non-profit-making organisations and would be able to apply for a licence to generate and supply renewable electricity to their members. Whilst the development of LECs would involve a degree of experimentation, I believe they could become an important and innovative part of our energy system, helping to speed up the transition to clean energy.
I also support measures to promote renewable energy directly, such as fitting solar panels to schools. This would reduce their running costs and carbon footprints, generate some revenue for the school by selling excess electricity generated, and provide students with the opportunity to study renewable energy production first-hand. This approach could be extended to all public buildings.
The Local Electricity Bill is currently scheduled to be presented in the House of Commons on 28 April. However, as I am sure you will appreciate, in light of the Coronavirus situation, the status of any future business in the House of Commons remains uncertain. Nevertheless, I can assure you that I will continue to support community-level renewable energy at every opportunity.
On a broader scale, I believe that the UK, and the world, needs to accelerate its efforts to combat the climate emergency. This should include a rapid transition to renewable energy production.