This page will be used to give short summaries of current areas where we are actively campaigning.
If you are a community member of CEE and would like to participate in discussions and sharing on our Practitioner Forum, please request to join here.
Departmental budgets campaign
During the Westminster Hall debate on Empowering Community Energy Schemes (December 2021), the Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change pledged to look at the options for funding as part of Department-wide planning. It is vital that this includes "practical support measures" (as recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee) or community energy will have lost all central government supports and will continue to struggle to make a business case to get active to play its 'vital role' in achieving net zero.
To improve our chances of making this a reality we are asking our members to write to their MP(s), asking them to write to the Secretary of State at BEIS urging that support for community energy be provided from departmental budgets, currently being allocated. We have received feedback from BEIS that they have noticed an increase in correspondence about community energy and that this is being heard and is having a positive impact within the department. It is not too late to influence BEIS to back community energy in their departmental spending. Every letter they receive, and case study they read will help make this case.
Keen to help out the sector?
You can find a template letter/email for you to cut, paste, reword and personalise (especially the red text and including local context and benefits of your project) here along with more information and guidance. Then send it to your MP (find your MP here). Your project may cover several constituencies, and you can use postcodes of your installations to write to those MPs.
Government support for community energy
The government has recommitted to supporting onshore wind and solar with Contracts for Difference, but only projects greater than 5MW which leaves community energy out in the cold. We have taken the opportunity of the government consultation to propose a Community Energy CfD open to sub 5MW community-led projects as happens in Ireland. This ask was developed in consulation with Community Energy Scotland and Community Energy Wales and expert members as well as the Low Carbon Contracts Company. For full details see paras 1.12 ff in our consultation response here. As CfD reform is in hand we are using this as a spearhead to urge the government to support community energy.
We wrote the Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng to ask for a meeting to discuss this. He delegated to senior BEIS officials who indicated that it was very unlikely in the next auction round in 2021 but that 'the Minister makes the decisions on these things.' Further approach to the minister produced the following official response:
"I recognise that the CfD does have size stipulations for some types of projects, although this should not preclude the potential for community projects that meet the relevant criteria. We do not intend to introduce a tailored CfD for the next allocation round but will continue to keep all aspects of the CfD under review on an ongoing basis. ... I note your concerns that the SEG may not provide sufficient certainty for investors. We will review the SEG once it has had time to settle in, to assess how it is working, including for communities."
This minister has changed his mind before (on the FiT extension) but for the moment we are urging that community energy is essential to achieving net zero (engaging and involving the public) as well as delivering local solutions and legion co-benefits. See our short parliamentary briefing at www.bit.ly/CEEbriefing for the short-list of asks.
We are urging the minister and BEIS to put people and communities (and comunity energy) at the heart of energy, net-zero and green recovery policies, starting with the imminent Energy White Paper. We have met with BEIS officials, written to the minister and contacted the BEIS select committee. Any urging from your MP would be useful. Please see our suggested letter at our Harnessing our MPs page.
If you would like to support this campaign please contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Electricity Bill
Community Energy England is asking members to request their MPs join the 200+ MPs who support this Private Members Bill to enable local supply of electricity. We are assembling experts who can input to the final drafting of the Bill when it gets to committee stage. If you'd like to contribute to that please email email@example.com
Green Homes Grant
See here for more details of the GHG. We are urging government to prioritise the award of monies to local authorities to those who plan to work closely with community energy. We are also urging members that this is a real opportunity to advocate to their communities to take up this opportunity and to get actively involved in retrofit which deals with the top of the energy hierarchy (reduce demand/need) and potentially delivers huge and long-term social benefit.
Energy Saving Trust's Warm homes by 2030 'If not now, when?' campaign
EST are coordinating a campaign to press the government to commit to a long term programme of energy retrofit to upgrade all possible housing (2/3 of UK stock) to EPC C by 2030. They want to get as many councils as possible to support their lobby to government for greater support for retrofit. They say 'Change needs to start with people' "The government won’t take bold action here if there is a risk of low uptake. It will instead focus on supply-side measures and those that don’t rely on people acting. We think this is the wrong approach. A future energy system built around users will deliver the highest benefits, and change that starts with people will be the fastest and lowest cost route to net zero." They continue, "Local government is best placed both to speak on behalf of local communities and to drive take-up if a new programme is developed."
We have urged that local authorities are well placed but not always good at engaging their communities and that community energy must be part of the campaign and supported in the government's retrofit programme. Community energy is trusted, knowledgeable and highly motivated, if properly resourced to act and is usually better than councils, and 4-5 times better than private sector, at engaging the community in energy saving Please ask your council to get behind the campaign but to mention the importance of working in partnership with community energy and that it should be part of their campaign that this should be properly resourced.
The council should email firstname.lastname@example.org with:
- an email from the Leader of the Council or Chief Executive confirming their support
- a copy of their logo for the EST campaign webpage
- a nominated officer contact(s) for updates on progress
 Forum for the Future/EST DECC report https://bit.ly/2ErXOj0 para 3.3.3