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Debate: Is Community Energy on the Edge of a New Era?

by Paul Phare, new Director for BEN, works for Energy4All

This is a good question since the Government is signalling a more market led approach to renewables and the regulatory framework that has underpinned the growth of community energy over the past decade is changing.

The event held on Monday 25th February launched a new report Community Energy 2.0alongside a Community Energy Manifesto signed by a wide range of organisations.

It was an interesting debate on the possibilities of community energy, but the disappointing thing was that nobody of note from Government turned up and it had the feeling of preaching to the converted rather than forming any tangible ways forward.  It seems that Government is happy for community energy to take place and even likes to talk it up, but in reality it is saying if you want to be in the game you have to compete with the incumbents and the entrepreneurs.  This Government clearly doesn’t value social justice or self-help or it would support small and local and not be so obsessed about scale and keeping the price of energy as low as possible.