The campaign group Power for People has thanked Bath MP, Wera Hobhouse, for backing powers in the Government’s Energy Bill that would enable community groups to sell their clean power locally.
- Mrs Hobhouse is backing two clauses in the Government’s Energy Bill – aiming to enable local communities to power their homes and businesses with locally generated renewable energy, keeping money from energy bills in the local economy.
- There are high hopes for the direct benefits community energy could bring, including new skilled jobs, reduced energy bills and more money for local projects.
On 9th May, Wera Hobhouse, who is Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, participated in the Second Reading of the Government’s Energy Bill and spoke in favour of new rules to enable clean community energy generation.
Community energy – renewable energy generated by community owned and run projects – accounts for less than 0.5% of total UK electricity generation capacity. According to the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, the sector could grow 12-20 times by 2030 with the right Government support, powering 2.2 million homes and saving 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Bath and West Community Energy, a Community Benefit Society located in Ms Hobhouse’s constituency, helped reduce carbon emissions by an average of 3,300 tonnes per year with their 31 renewable energy projects.
The recent Net Zero review, authored by former climate minister, Chris Skidmore MP and commissioned by the Government, affirmed “the community energy sector has been relatively neglected by government” with its leading recommendation to address this be that the “Government should commit to the Local Electricity Bill that would enable community energy projects to provide energy directly to local households and businesses.”
A cross-party group of 320 MPs, including Bath MP Wera Hobhouse, support the Local Electricity Bill, along with over 100 national organisations including the National Trust, the Church of England, the RSPB, CPRE, WWF, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
Supportive MPs, as well as Lords and Baronesses in the House of Lords, are now encouraging the Government to include the sections of the Local Electricity Bill in the Government’s Energy Bill, which is the first major piece of energy legislation in almost 10 years and is expected to pass into law before the summer.
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Climate and Energy Spokesperson and MP for Bath, commented:
“I am pleased to support the clauses of the Energy Bill which would empower community energy companies to sell clean electricity they generate directly to local people.
“This would help strengthen the local economy. I call on the Government to support these clauses, too.”
Power for People’s Director, Steve Shaw, commented:
“We thank Wera Hobhouse for supporting the parts of the Energy Bill that would enable rapid growth in community energy. If made law, these powers would unleash the huge potential for new community-owned clean energy projects that would make our energy system more robust and bring local economic benefits to our towns, villages and cities.”
Energy Bill Second Reading highlights video:
A list of MPs, councils and organisations backing the Local Electricity Bill: