white windmill
Photo by Abby Anaday on Unsplash

Last week saw the rushed passage of the Energy Prices Bill through the House of Commons, as one part of the Government’s response to the ongoing energy crisis.

The speed at which all stages of the legislation was forced through the Commons on a single day inevitably led to concerns about the quality of the legislation and its intended impact.

One such issue surrounded the Government’s proposed revenue cap, and use of super-profits from electricity generators to reduce consumer energy bills.

Within the drafting of the Bill, an adequate and detailed definition of who these generators are is lacking, meaning uncertainty for organisations like co-operatively and community-owned wind farms as they are potentially included alongside big, international utility companies.

We know that co-operatives and community-owned initiatives are fundamentally different in how they are owned and why they are operated.

The proceeds from a co-operative wind farm, for instance, are returned to members in the form of cheaper and more stable bills, not extracted by distant shareholders.

That the legislation may target these co-operative and community-owned initiatives would not only be misinformed and misguided – it would actively hinder their ability to continue supporting consumers in the manner the Government is seeking.

That’s why Shadow Minister Alan Whitehead MP, responding to the legislation for the Opposition, was able to raise this matter with Ministers directly, and secure assurances from them that their plans for revenue caps would exempt co-operative and community-owned generators such as wind farms.

This is an important commitment we look forward to holding the Government to this assurance and ensuring they bring forward further details and clarity on this matter.

Because quite apart from ensuring legislation does not inadvertently disadvantage co-operatives the Government should be going even further, by recognising and actively promoting the unique contribution their ownership model can make in in our national response to the energy crisis.