Committee to explore community energy in new inquiry

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is to investigate what role community energy can play in decarbonising energy and heat.

On 18 February, it confirmed community energy as the latest topic it will explore as part of its wider workstream considering technological innovation and climate change. As of 2020, it contributed 278MW of renewable energy and heat and, by 2030, it could power 2.2mn homes and save 2.5mn tonnes of CO2. Considering most projects focus on renewable power or energy efficiency, community energy has the potential to play a vital role in achieving the UK’s 2050 net zero target.

It has opened a call for evidence with submissions invited until 19 March, ahead of a one-off evidence session. Areas of interest include how well the financial and technical needs of setting up and running community energy projects are being met by existing government support mechanisms, along with the main barriers to development under the current regulatory regime and how they can be overcome.

The committee is also interested in hearing what role Ofgem should play in supporting community energy and resolving regulatory issues; what role local authorities should play in developing community energy; how policy can ensure that community energy projects maximise their positive impacts to the local communities; and what exemplars there are of successful community energy systems from across the UK’s urban and rural communities, along with what makes them so successful.