Following the King’s Speech yesterday (7 November), energy cooperatives across the UK have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to be “on the right side of history”.
With the King’s Speech reiterating support for new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea, the energy cooperatives have outlined in an open letter that community-owned energy could play a huge role in both boosting energy security and reducing carbon emissions.
Taking aim at the government’s plan to provide just £10 million of funding for the community energy sector, the letter reads that this is “nowhere near enough” and that it is “time to get real about global heating, stop propping up big oil and put our country’s money into a solution that benefits everyone”.
This stance seems to align with much of the energy industry with many deeming the new oil and gas licences “little more than political posturing” with it expected to severely dampen the UK’s decarbonisation journey.
What is more puzzling is, as mentioned in the open letter, the solution for energy security lies before the government in the form of renewables.
Another important point made in the open letter is the government’s continued investment in carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) – a technology that has scientific doubts as to whether it should be at the heart of climate policy. Despite these fears, a staggering £20 billion is set to be allocated to the technology.
Community energy on the other hand could educate the general public on the energy system and introduce many to the benefits of renewables.
Energy cooperatives to have signed the letter include Awel Aman Tawe, Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative, Brighton Energy Cooperative, Bristol Energy Cooperative and Repowering London.
For readers interested in learning more about community energy in the UK, Current± explored the topic in the Current± Explores: Community Energy in the UK mini-series. Click here to read the first instalment.