Communities benefit through energy partnerships: Knight
New legislation needs to go with the grain of what is working well and should not add additional burdens or greater costs to energy projects Energy UK said on Wednesday.
This comes ahead of Government plans which look to strengthen the regime for ensuring communities have an active role in local schemes. The industry already does a great deal of work to engage local residents when developing new power plant both throughout the planning process but also by offering a chance to invest financially in their local infrastructure. There are already over 5,000 community energy projects across the UK and the industry undertakes all this work on a voluntary basis.
Angela Knight said:
“Energy companies are already working with local communities and the fact that nearly every recent energy project has seen benefits going directly back to the local towns they serve proves that cumbersome legislation is unnecessary. Local communities have a really important role to play in energy projects that affect them. Any new requirements need to go with the grain of what is working well and avoid red tape – beware the risk of unintended consequences.”
Energy UK highlighted three other key considerations:
- Retrospection– should be avoided to ensure existing community agreements are not undone.
- Application of the enabling powers– these powers should be a backstop where voluntary co-operation has failed (which is where we see the powers may add value). Additionally, the voluntary right to buy scheme covers onshore wind, solar and hydro projects. If community right to buy schemes extend beyond the voluntary programme, it is important to have clarity on how other forms of generation will be included, particularly how other facilities not currently covered will be benchmarked.
- Scope of the powers– what will remain within the control of the developer for any project and what will be mandated by the government? It is important to have clarity on the remit of the government in any intervention.