Community energy practitioners put their heads together to discuss how to lobby with one voice at the Community Energy Conference. Leo Murray, director of strategy at 10:10, called on the sector to back #keepfits, a campaign to protect the Feed in Tariff (FiT).
The government proposes to significantly reduce FiT rates and remove pre-acreditation of nascent schemes, a plan currently subject to a consultation. A petition asking the Department for Eneregy and Climate Change (DECC) to review its approach has over 18,000 signatures.
“The review makes FiTs a good target.” Mr Murray said. “There’s a strong rationale for focusing on FiTs because people know about them, in as much as they know about anything around community energy. The vast majority of beneficiaries are ordinary people. There are three quarters of a million stakeholders and beneficiaries.
“There are such clear double standards, including massive subsidies to other forms of energy. It’s such crazy double speak from the government, it’s vulnerable to being unpacked on a rational basis.”
Kathy Smyth, director of policy at Community Energy England (CEE) agreed FiTs were important. “We’ll need some kind of community FiT to keep us alive until such time as we have direct access to the market,” she said. But with just one full time member of staff, it was limited how much lobbying CEE could do.
“Paul [Monaghan, director of Up the Ethics] has been firefighting since the general election,” she said. “I’m a volunteer and since May I’ve responded to 10 consultations for the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority], the treasury, DECC and Ofgem.
“Responding takes a lot of time but the government needs that evidence base. DECC’s own evidence gathering is unco-ordinated. We have friends in officials, some very supportive officials.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do with the public,” she added. “The public’s response to the consultation on onshore wind was distressing.” She appealed for community energy organisations to help CEE to put together its response to the FiT review.
In this article
- community energy
- Community Energy Conference
- community energy conference 2015
- Community Energy England
- energy organisations
- Feed-in Tariff
- Financial Conduct Authority
- Kathy Smyth
- Renewable energy policy
- Renewable-energy economy
- Renewable-energy law
- Marie-Claire Kidd
- United Kingdom