The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) launches today a new initiative centred on local authorities to continue the impressive and rapid deployment of renewable energy projects across the UK and Ireland in the face of subsidy cuts. (1)
Get it from the Sun (GIFTS) is a new initiative put forward by Professor Keith Barnham (2) that aims to provide information and encourage cooperation among local authorities, town councils, charities, community energy groups, environmental NGOs and individuals working towards all-renewable electricity supplies at the local level, in spite of the extensive subsidy cuts to renewable energy by the UK Government. Renewable electricity is the quickest way to achieve the carbon reductions the government agreed at COP21. In the NFLA’s view, such local initiatives can overcome government opposition.
As part of this initiative, NFLA will be asking of its member authorities:
- Does the Council get its electricity from an all renewable electricity supplier, and is it planning to develop its own local authority energy company?
- If not – when do they plan to?
- If they have – NFLA will encourage them to promote the scheme to include public buildings, social housing and local residents to switch and advise them on ways to develop local authority energy companies.
- It is the easy way to make your Council more nuclear free and renewable friendly!
The GIFTS initiative outlines the rapid deployment of renewable energy over the past decade, and shows that, had cuts to subsidies not been implemented, an all-renewables energy system would have been created years before new nuclear could have had any positive effect (3).
Despite the cuts, the GIFTS initiative also provides 6 ways to keep momentum towards deploying renewable energy solutions, centred on local authorities and community energy cooperatives. They include:
- Keep talking to investors so that renewables should remain competitive. Good Energy for example has just announced agreement on the first subsidy-free wind farm. (4)
- Seek out new forms of finance such as crowd sourcing. Crowd sourcing will benefit from the popularity of renewables being much higher than nuclear or fracking using DECC’s own figures. (5)
- Cooperate with organisations who could be motivated by factors other than return on investment such as the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, local authorities grouping together, eco-schools and community energy cooperatives.
- Cooperate with renewable NGOs on a campaign to increase demand for renewable power by encouraging local authorities, universities, companies and individuals to switch their electricity supplier to an all renewable electricity supply such as Ecotricity, Ovo Energy or Good Energy.
- Local authorities and community energy groups can cooperate to encourage local farmers and food companies to send farm and food waste for anaerobic digestion (AD). If the bio-methane is used to produce electricity, or is input to the gas grid, the waste collected may count towards a local 15% bio-electricity generation.
- Local authorities and local action groups can cooperate to deny planning permission to new fossil fuel electrical generators that are supported by the government’s flexible capacity subsidy. At the same time they could be encouraging new combined heat and power (CHP) electricity generation using bio-methane from AD to obtain funding from the government’s flexible capacity subsidy.
Professor Keith Barnham said:
GIFTS will keep the renewables expanding in the UK through local initiatives despite government renewable energy subsidy cuts. Have you switched to an all-renewable electricity supplier yet?”
NFLA Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
I am delighted that the NFLA is launching the ‘Get it from the Sun’ renewable energy initiative. NFLA firmly believes that a non-nuclear, fossil fuel free energy system is eminently possible with sufficient resources and the required political will. An all-renewables electricity network could happen much sooner than later if the UK Government had not cut back on successful renewable energy subsidies over the last year. This initiative will continue that momentum and NFLA calls on local authorities, community energy cooperatives, renewable supporting NGOs and for public support to work for this essential low carbon goal. Working together we can do it.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 07771 930196, who can also put journalists in touch with Professor Barnham.
Notes for Editors:
(2) For further information on Professor Barnham’s research go to http://www.burninganswers.com
(3) Professor Barnham’s presentation to the NFLA and other groups co-organised ‘Beyond Nuclear’ conference can be found at https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/category/presentations