The community energy sector has some of the most compelling stories of how low carbon, flexible energy has been used to keep down costs, create local jobs, and make communities more sustainable. With this in mind we’re asking community energy groups to join us in making contact with candidates to ask them what their position is on climate and energy policy, and how they will support community energy if elected. We are working with Community Energy England (CEE)  to provide support, including a template letter to candidates, on what community groups could ask for.

Here’s the toolkit we've sent out, to help people take action: 

Find your MP here

A template email to send to your local candidates 

Dear [insert candidate name],

I am writing to invite you to meet with us during the general election campaign to discuss the role [insert community energy group name] is playing in reducing consumer bills and delivering local investment. Our group has XX members and has installed XXX scheme in XXX [insert your groups achievements].

The falling cost of renewable energy is helping local people to cut their bills and the UK to meet our legally binding emissions targets. We would like to meet with you during the campaign to discuss both our current work, and what you could do as a champion for local community energy if elected to parliament. Following the postponement of the publication of the Clean Growth Plan, the next Government will be required to set out how it plans to meet our emissions reductions targets soon after the election. This offers a chance for our representative in Westminster to support both local investment and the broader clean energy transition. We would like to meet with you to discuss how we can empower our community to make the most of this opportunity and build local, sustainable energy.

If this would be of interest then please do let me know when would be convenient on [insert contact details.]

Yours sincerely,

[Community Energy Group]

A list of key things community energy groups could ask for to get the best results

  1. Put local communities at the heart of our future decentralised energy system through: enabling communities to buy the energy they produce themselves, at closer to wholesale than retail prices; providing recognition of community led projects in the planning system; providing priority access for community led generation projects to the grid; replacing the urban community energy fund with grants and loans for feasibility work; and providing financial mechanisms including tax relief for high risk investment in community energy projects and business rate exemptions.

  1. Recommit to Climate Change Act and regular carbon budgets and issue the delayed ‘Green Growth Plan’ to meet the 5th carbon budget as a top priority for the new government.

Notes: The government is under a statutory duty to produce a plan to meet the 5th carbon budget, but it has been long delayed. It is a key document to enable businesses and communities to investment in new smart green technology.

  1. Commit to ensuring there is a price on carbon through the Carbon Floor Price or other mechanism

Notes: BREXIT may lead to the UK being outside the EU Emissions Trading System which, together with the UK carbon floor price, puts a price on carbon emissions. Post BREXIT the retention of a mechanism to put a price on carbon emissions will be key to a modern industrial strategy that supports our economy.

  1. Publish a roadmap to a smarter decentralised energy system that enables balancing supply and demand at a local level

Notes: The National Infrastructure Commission estimates that a smart system incorporating a mix of low carbon generation, electric cars, energy storage and interconnectors will cut £8bn per year from UK energy bills by 2030. BEIS is working on a roadmap, but this has been delayed by the election.

Keeping in touch

We are also inviting groups to let us know how they get on and if they meet their candidates. We will compile a list of action by community energy groups to show how much impact we can have together.

This is a moment when we can have a striking impact with a small amount of effort, so we are inviting everyone to tell their candidates what’s going on with local energy and ask them to get involved!

Author: Jodie Giles

Contact: [email protected]