UK community energy net zero role ‘stalled by regulatory barriers and lack of Government strategy’

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The Environmental Audit Committee has expressed disappointment that the Government has ‘failed to acknowledge’ the role community energy can play in prompting behaviour change and lowering emissions on the path to net zero.

In a letter to the Business Secretary, Committee’s Chair Philip Dunne raises concern about the lack of clarity from the Government on the role of community energy in decarbonising the energy sector, and expresses disappointment that it only received ‘a passing mention’ in the Energy White Paper.

Mr Dunne commented on the announcement: “Our continuing inquiry into technological innovations and climate change has shown us that there is no shortage of innovative ideas that could all play significant roles in helping the UK achieve net zero emissions. But what is lacking is Government support, a coherent plan, and recognition of current barriers. We have found that community energy is no exception.

“For net zero Britain requires us to change our behaviour and adapt to a low-carbon lifestyle. Community energy can help achieve this – not only powering homes and businesses up and down the country but by engaging local citizens on the benefits of renewable energy and – in many ways – how we can do our bit to help keep the lights on ourselves.

“I urge the Government to consider increasing the role community energy can play, and how we can learn from countries like the Netherlands on how to make it work.”

The Committee has recommended that BEIS introduces a minimum Smart Export Guarantee floor price above zero, and extends the guarantee on the energy export price.

According to the Committee, the Smart Export Guarantee is flawed at present because it provides no minimum export price and no long-term certainty beyond 12 months.

According to the Committee, regulatory barriers appear to be stalling any further significant roll-out of community energy projects.

The Committee recommends regulatory and grid-connection barriers are removed to allow community projects to sell their energy to their local communities.

The letter can be found in full from the UK Parliament website.