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Cut energy bills by placing power in the hands of communities – Plaid Cymru

05 Sep 2023 2 minute read
Ben Lake. Photo UK Parliament, Jessica Taylor

Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake has said today (5 September) that energy bills could be reduced by “placing power back in the hands of our communities”.

Mr Lake has called for local supply rights for community energy schemes, allowing them to sell power directly to local consumers.

Community energy schemes, often run by local volunteers and organisations, harness renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to generate electricity.

Plaid Cymru’s amendment to the UK Government’s Energy Bill, tabled together with the SNP, seeks to empower these schemes, and bring energy production closer to the people it serves.

Currently, purchasing electricity directly from local renewable energy sources isn’t an option.

Instead, it must be acquired through utility companies connected to the National Grid, even when it’s generated locally.

Affordable

The UK Government says that its Energy Bill “will deliver a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system for the long term”, building on the commitments in the April 2022 British Energy Security Strategy to “invest in homegrown energy and maintain the diversity and resilience of the UK’s energy supply”.

A part of Plaid Cymru’s cooperation agreement with the Welsh Government, a publicly-funded company is being set up to help develop community energy projects in Wales – Ynni Cymru – based on Anglesey.

Ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on the Energy Bill, Ben Lake MP said: “This amendment places power back in the hands of our communities. It would allow people to benefit from cleaner, cheaper energy while creating economic opportunities for communities all over Wales.

“Enabling communities to generate and distribute their own energy would not only help reduce carbon emissions but would also put money back into the pockets of hardworking families. It is a win-win for the environment and the economy.

“Thanks to Plaid Cymru’s Cooperation Agreement with the Welsh Government, a publicly-funded company is being set up to help develop community energy projects in Wales. This amendment would allow those schemes to realise their full potential by allowing the local use of locally generated energy, reducing the pressure on the national grid and retaining the benefit for our communities.”


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Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
7 months ago

Agreeing with Ben Lake MP, the Welsh Government should foster the development of micro-grids that in large part would eventually supersede the national (Welsh) grid and reduce transmission costs (and energy losses). Standing charges could be substantially reduced. But the other main reform, long overdue – to the detriment of many low-income households in Cymru – is the introduction of step-tariffs. These would provide a lifeline supply for all at very low cost, with higher consumption increasing unit cost, also in steps. There would be an incentive to reduce usage at all steps. We must reduce our total energy use… Read more »

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