Lancashire households should be able to buy electricity generated on their doorstep, councillors say
Lancashire residents should be able to buy renewable energy to power their homes which has been generated close to where they live.
That was the cross-party call from Lancashire County Council as members unanimously backed a bill currently before Parliament which would establish a “right to local supply”.
Almost 50 other local authorities have also shown their support for the proposed legislation, which would make it easier for small-scale producers to acquire the necessary licence to sell electricity directly to consumers.
Green Party county councillor Gina Dowding introduced a notice of motion at County Hall which also called for the often prohibitive set-up and running costs of local energy generation to be made “proportionate to a renewable electricity supplier’s operation”.
“That would help create the urgently-needed green economic recovery through empowering new, local energy supply companies.
“This means more of the money we pay for our electricity bills circulates in the local economy – and we end up with better investment and local, skilled jobs.
“At the same time, it helps accelerate the decarbonisation of the energy system by unlocking the huge potential for community-scale renewable energy infrastructure,” County Cllr Dowding said.
She found support from Conservative cabinet member for the environment Michael Green who noted that Lancashire did already boast some of the schemes she was advocating – and said that boosting the sector locally would further bolster Lancashire’s “green credentials”.
The matter has been put before Parliament as a “ten-minute rule bill”, meaning it will not come into law in its current form – but could be picked by the government to enact through their own legislation.
Labour county councillor Lizzi Collinge said that the county had to “support anything we can to get rid of fossil fuels” and achieve carbon-neutral status by 2030.
“We’re already on a path of destroying our civilisation if we’re honest about it – we’ve seen the extreme weather events and the flooding in Lancashire,” she said.
Liberal Democrat group leader David Whipp floated the idea of micro-hydropower energy generation in Pennine Lancashire – but said a “level playing field” was required for anybody wanting to enter the market.