What can I ask my MP to do?
Below are a number of examples of issues relating to community energy that you could raise with your MP. Hope for the Future can help you to work with your individual MP on community energy. If you would like further support, contact us here.
- You can ask your MP to show their support for an existing community energy project near you. Sheffield Renewables say that having MPs on their side gives credibility to the project and in turn can increase local Council support (see below for working with your Councillor on Community Energy).
- If your MP has shown concern around fuel poverty, then community energy is a great place to start a conversation with your MP about reducing fuel costs and tackling energy security.
- Community Energy has the ability to deliver the Clean Growth Strategy vision as set out by the Government in October 2017. You can talk to your MP about the benefits it provides, and encourage your MP to raise a question in Parliament about the lack of financial support and incentives for such projects.
- Ask your MP to write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government about the national planning guidelines. In particular, ask them to look at proposals to make small scale onshore wind projects – those under 1.5MW – exempt from the 2015 ban on onshore wind.
- A survey by Community Energy England (2017) found that 88% of community energy projects use FITs. However, FITs are due to end in 2019. You can speak to your MP about the need to provide an alternative financial mechanism in the short term, so that community energy projects can continue to exist and benefit the local community.
- While FITs are really important for the small-scale projects, tax relief is more relevant for large scale projects. You can speak with your MP about the importance of tax relief in the survival of community energy projects. In particular you could focus on how community energy projects are excluded from the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, Social Investment Tax Relief and the Enterprise Investment Scheme.
- As the UK's energy market rules are designed by the 'Big Six,' community energy groups miss out on the financial value of the energy they produce, because they must sell their energy to the grid before buying it back. You can talk to your MP about updating market rules, so that community energy communities are rewarded through lower bills. As the changes required are complex, Community Energy England suggest the creation of a dedicated local energy innovation fund accessible to community groups for such projects.
- If there is a project in your local community, you can use it as an example for your MP on how well renewables are being implemented in your local community. Why not invite your MP to visit the site with you? Or if you’re meeting your MP at their surgery you could invite someone from the project to come with you to tell your MP about the fantastic work they’re doing, as well as some of the challenges they are facing. Find a project near you here.
Working with your Councillor on Community Energy
Local councils have a really important role to play in community energy projects. For example, Camden Council have initiated the Camden Climate Fund which provides grants of up to 50% of costs to install renewable energy systems. If you would like to work with your councillor on this topic, contact us here.
If you are interested in setting up a community energy project, you can view a step by step guide provided by Community Energy England here.
If you would like to find out more about working with your MP on other related issues, use the links below: