New government, new era for community energy? 

New government: new era for community energy?

Community Energy Scotland welcomes our new Labour government’s commitment to make Britain a clean energy superpower. In particular: 

Setting up Great British Energy 

The commitment to set up a publicly-owned clean power company to cut bills and boost energy security, paid for by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants, was one of the six ‘first steps for change’ that Labour committed to in its manifesto. Great British Energy will be headquartered in Scotland, and we look forward to working in partnership with them to support the implementation of the Local Power Plan 

Scaling up municipal and community energy 

The Local Power Plan sets out to cut energy bills, create jobs, deliver energy security and provide climate leadership by delivering a cheaper, zero carbon electricity system by 2030. One of the three priorities in the plan is to scale up municipal and community energy by partnering with energy companies, local authorities and communities to build and expand small and medium scale clean energy projects including onshore wind, community and household solar and shared ownership schemes. GB Energy will make available up to £600m in funding for local authorities and up to £400m low-interest loans each year for communities – CES is calling on the government to ensure that this finance is available across the whole of the UK, not just in England. The plan also includes a commitment that local communities will directly benefit from hosting clean energy infrastructure. 

Clean power and good jobs for Scotland 

In addition to basing Great British Energy in Scotland to benefit from the existing skills, insight and world-leading research institutes in Scotland, a specific delivery plan for Scotland includes: 

  • The creation of 50,000 clean power jobs by 2030 in Scotland to fully realise the potential of Scotland’s renewable energy assets; 
  • To invest in upgrading Scottish ports to make them ready for deployment and decommissioning of renewables; 
  • Working with the Scottish Government on a Warm Homes Plan to save families up to £500 off bills;
  • Addressing grid delays to bring the current pipeline of Scottish renewables projects online as soon as possible.

An end to ‘chopping and changing’ policy 

The Labour manifesto promised an end to ‘the chaotic Conservative chopping and changing on policy’, creating a new Energy Independence Act to establish the framework for all of the new energy and climate policies. This will give the sector the long term security needed to invest and roll out long term changes in the sector. 

Community Energy Scotland looks forward to working with the new UK Government to develop and implement these changes. Alongside this, our participation in the Energy Learning Network will help to build the capacity of more community groups in Scotland and encourage more collaboration between communities and local authorities, in order to make the most of funding opportunities and shared ownership opportunities as they arise. 

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