Ynni Cymunedol Cymru

Community Energy Wales Responds to UK government Announcement

Community Energy Wales Responds to UK government Announcement

Community Energy Wales has expressed deep disappointment and incredulity at the UK government’s announcement of an England-only fund for community energy in compensation for ditching its pro-community energy amendments to its Energy Bill. These amendments would have allowed for local energy trading, which is key to cutting bills and ensuring a more just transition to net zero through kickstarting a community energy upsurge.

Co Executive Directors Leanne Wood and Ben Ferguson said:

“A just transition - which governments are saying they want, is simply not possible if local communities continue to be unable to sell the energy they produce to their local customers. Local energy trading provides for numerous benefits, including loweringcosts and prices, resilience against price shocks, investment back into communities, behaviour change leading to reduced demand and the expansion of the community energy sector. All this adds up to more of an energy asset base for the country. It is a real blow against efforts for a just transition to see the UK government kick moves towards local trading into the long grass.

Instead, they have provided £10million over two years to fund feasibility studies and community energy start-ups in England. Even though the regulation that could provide for local trading is a Westminster responsibility, and the failure to progress on that front will mean people pay more for their energy bills over the long run, they have failed to provide compensation for the community energy sector in Wales and Scotland. We wish our colleagues in England well and recognise that they will welcome this fund, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the opportunities communities could have had to contribute and benefit from decades-long benefits through local trading.

“The UK government’s action contrasts with the Welsh government who deserve to be commended for the strong and consistent support for communities to take the lead on commitments to reach net zero carbon emissions.

“The goodwill and practical support available to the community energy sector from the Welsh Government, together with its cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru & the pledge to create “Ynni Cymru” contrasts starkly with the UK’s government’s latest announcement.

“For CEW, this announcement calls into question Westminster’s commitment to justice and demonstrates a failure to back local people who want to protect themselves against future energy price shocks. We would ask - is the REMA (Review of Electricity Marketing Arrangements) process really one that is committed to a just transition? If so, its consultation needs to be inclusive (of the community energy sector), rapid and action focused - similar to the way in which the Welsh Government conducted its recent deep dive into renewable energy.

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