Molly_solarpanels@BristolMolly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South west will tell a public meeting this Friday [1] that the city could be powered by 100% renewable energy, without the need for any fossil fuels or nuclear. A report she commissioned earlier this year concluded that the region could be totally self-sufficient in energy and that a renewable energy revolution could create 122, 000 new quality jobs across the region and add over £4bn a year to the South West economy.

However, the meeting comes at a time when the government are reducing subsidies for renewable energy generation and solar companies are being pushed into bankruptcy. The government also want to ‘fast track’ shale gas planning applications to try and prevent councils blocking fracking. Molly Scott Cato said:

“The government seem to have adopted an ideological obsession against renewable energy, despite the fact that on-shore wind is now the cheapest way to generate electricity in England. The government is deliberately destroying UK companies and undermining investment opportunities for small-scale investors building the energy of the future. The Tories are snubbing British citizens who have shown their willingness to invest in community renewables and support the clean, green energy of the future with which our country, and particularly the South West, is so richly endowed.”

Dr Scott Cato will be joined by a panel of experts on local community energy schemes, including Exeter’s own Community Energy co-op, ECOE. Exeter Community Energy aims to enable local people to take ownership of renewable energy projects, something that Molly Scott Cato believes can transform the provision of energy across the region. She said:

“Community renewable schemes are transforming the provision of energy in Germany and will help the country achieve its target of producing 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2050. This transformation is occurring thanks to investments by small investors in small energy schemes which are empowering local communities to generate their own renewable energy. Renewables offer the opportunity to seize back control of our energy supply from giant, often foreign owned, corporations and global finance and hand it back to the people in the form of cooperatives and social enterprises. It is clear that renewable energy really does offer power to the people.”

During her visit to Exeter, Molly Scott Cato will also visit West Town Farm, an organic meat farm in Ide and speak at a rally on Saturday morning on the dangers of the TTIP trade deal currently being negotiated between the US and EU.

Notes

[1] Details of public meeting: Can renewable energy create a Western Powerhouse?

Friday 16th October, 7-9pm, Mint Methodist Church, Fore Street, Exeter.

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, will launch the Power to Transform the South West report (http://mollymep.org.uk/2015/04/17/power-to-transform/), written by the Resilience Centre in Gloucestershire. This will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the politics of energy, the implications of creating a renewable energy revolution and how communities can help bring this about.

The panel will include: Gill Wyatt, Exeter Community Energy (ECOE), Andrew Shadrake, Devon Association of Renewable Energy (DARE), Cathy Debenham, Founder of YouGen, advisory organisation on renewables.

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