Thank you for contacting me about the webinar with Community Energy England which I watched with interest. It was good to hear how a community energy scheme had been implemented in Brixton and other parts of the country and it also raised a lot of interesting and important points such as how schools could access it as well as individuals.
With regard to the Local Electricity Bill, I strongly support the development of local and community-owned renewable energy generation and supply. I have believed for some time that we need to provide greater access to energy markets for local projects. I therefore agree with the objectives of the Local Electricity Bill.
However, I am concerned that as the Bill currently stands it is unlikely to be successful in achieving its aims. I also worry that the Bill as written at present could be abused to sell dirty energy locally. The absence of an explicit reference to renewable energy could, for example, inadvertently enable diesel generators to receive preferential rates to act as a local electricity supplier. In addition, the Bill appears to overlook existing regulations which provide for some of what it seeks. Ofgem is already able to provide geographically limited supply licences, has worked up “licence-lite” arrangements and is currently looking at how it could make more use of these.
The Bill is unlikely to progress as it is presently number 11 in the list on the Friday 11 September 2020 and It is rare for more than two Bills to have their 2ndreading on a sitting Friday. Nevertheless, I will continue to seek other means to promote local electricity, such as supporting the development of peer-to-peer renewable energy trading and increasing the access to energy markets for community energy projects.
I also support giving Ofgem a new legal obligation to consider climate change and promote decarbonisation of the energy system. I believe this would empower Ofgem to take greater steps in supporting local renewable energy generation and supply.
Thank you once again for contacting me on this issue.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything further you wish to raise with me.