Campaigners thank local MP for backing Community Energy

Campaign group, Power for People, has thanked local Birkenhead MP, Mick Whitley, for backing new market rules for community renewable energy at a debate in Parliament.

Last week Mick Whitley participated in the debate on new rules to enable clean community energy generation.

Mr Whitley highlighted the potential for community energy to help reach emissions reduction targets and stressed the need to “help community energy to generate electricity for our children and grandchildren”. To this end, Mr Whitley underlined his support for the Environmental Audit Committee recommendation to remove the barriers to the development of community energy by passing the Local Electricity Bill into law, which would create a ‘Right to Local Supply’.

This would empower community-owned energy companies to sell locally generated electricity directly to local households and businesses and would improve competition. It would also create skilled jobs and reduce customers’ utility bills, whilst helping to accelerate the construction of new clean energy infrastructure.

Currently, customers can only purchase electricity from nationally licensed utilities. Power for People, organisers of the campaign behind the proposal, say this means money that people pay their energy bills with is not helping to strengthen local economies and build local clean energy infrastructure.

A cross-party group of 258 MPs backs the initiative. 70 local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales also support it together with 75 national organisations, including Community Energy England, Community Energy Scotland, Community Energy Wales, WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB.

Power for People’s Director, Steve Shaw, said, “We thank Mick Whitley for supporting the Local Electricity Bill and for underlining the huge potential of the UK’s community energy sector.

“If made law, the Bill would unblock the barriers facing the development of community-owned clean energy infrastructure and boost local skilled jobs and economic activity in the communities of Merseyside and beyond. We call on the government to support it.”

Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead, said, “A Right to Local Supply will empower and enable new community energy companies to sell energy that they generate directly to local people which will accelerate our transition to clean energy and help strengthen local economies. The Local Electricity Bill would enshrine a Right to Local Supply in law and I will do all I can to ensure it succeeds.”

Responding on behalf of the government, the Minister for Innovation, Amanda Solloway MP, said of the Bill that the government, “agreed with its the broad intentions”, but not the detail. The campaign continues.

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