Dear Prime Minister,
This is an open letter from energy cooperatives across the country to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak following the King’s Speech – will you be on the right side of history?
We are facing a climate emergency and simply cannot “max out” on further fossil fuel extraction if we want a liveable future. We implore you to look seriously at the climate solution that is right in front of you – community-owned energy.
Your plan for £10 million of funding for this sector is nowhere near enough. It’s time to get real about global heating, stop propping up big oil and put our country’s money into a solution that benefits everyone.
We often hear people say that renewable energy is too expensive to roll out at the speed it is needed. But the scale of the government’s support for oil and gas is staggering.
Fossil fuel companies like Shell and BP have raked in record profits from increased demand in energy following the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
On the surface, the UK government’s windfall tax is supposed to claw back some of these profits, but loopholes allow fossil fuel suppliers to claim back over 91% of that windfall tax if they spend the money on developing new oil and gas projects. This means the British people are effectively paying energy companies to fuel further climate catastrophe.
UK headquartered Shell, for example, made global profits of nearly £12 billion in the first 6 months of 2023. Despite making its highest ever profits in 2022, Shell paid negative tax in the UK last year, receiving over £8 million in tax back from the UK government.
Compared to these numbers, £10 million for community energy is like whistling in the wind. With substantial investment, we could create system change before it’s too late.
Community energy is a trusted, cost-effective way of not only providing cheaper and reliable renewable energy to local people, but also helps to bring communities together. It teaches people about the energy system, engages and reaches those most in need, and builds resilience against the worst impacts of global heating.
How does it work? Community energy refers to renewable energy projects which are partly owned or controlled directly by communities. We are part of a powerful growing movement of hundreds of these groups around the country and across the world.
In supporting the growth of community-owned energy you would be helping people reduce their energy bills, improve energy security in the UK, and reach our net zero goals. Renewable energy also has huge untapped economic potential with myriad new skills and job opportunities.
It’s time to support a sector that really benefits British people, one that local communities trust, and that people will vote for, creating a brighter future for us all.
Coops signed up so far:
- Awel Aman Tawe
- Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative
- Brighton Energy Cooperative
- Bristol Energy Cooperative
- Repowering London