Door still open for community energy U-turn

Co-operative MP Stephen Doughty continues to push government on community energy

Co-operative Party


At last week’s Paris Climate Summit, representatives of 196 countries including the UK committed to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C. Yesterday, Energy and Climate Secretary Amber Rudd addressed the House of Commons on the Paris Agreement, taking questions from MPs about commitments made to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, and on how these cuts will be achieved.

You’ll recall that just a few weeks ago, Amber Rudd took questions on Parliament on another issue – the Government’s decision to slash tax support for renewables, putting dozens of genuine community solar and wind energy schemes at risk.

If you see the contradiction there, so did Labour & Co-operative MP Stephen Doughty. He repeated our demand that the government end its attacks on community energy, and provide this vital area of the co-operative and renewable energy sector with the support and certainty that it needs:

“As a Co-operative party MP, I have long been a supporter of co-operative community renewal energy schemes, of which there are a number in this country. When I met representatives of one such company last week, they told me that the uncertainty that the Government have created around the feed-in tariff was causing them problems with planning into the future. How will the Secretary of State provide policy certainty for such groups who want to do their bit in meeting this agreement?”

In her response, the Energy Secretary failed to provide a clear answer, but did suggest that a U-turn on the issue was being considered:

I remind the hon. Gentleman that over the past 15 to 20 years the costs of solar panels have come down by 80%, so it is right that the subsidy comes down accordingly. I will shortly make an announcement about what it will come down to, and I am sure he will be interested in the result.

We will be watching the Secretary of State’s announcement very closely. We hope that she – along with the Chancellor George Osborne – will decide to do the right thing by backing clean, local energy owned by the people and communities it powers.

Click here to join our campaign to end the government’s attack on community energy