Greens urge government to commit to revised EU Directive on renewable energy

Molly is urging the government to retain revisions to the Renewable Energy Directive after Brexit. The Directive will recognise the right of people and communities to produce their own energy, but the UK government is undecided on whether it will integrate the policies into national law post-Brexit.

The revisions will encourage more local ownership of renewable energy and enshrine in law the right of citizens to produce, consume, sell and store renewable energy. There is also a new rule on ‘electricity sharing schemes’ which will provide renewable energy to low-income consumers by allowing electricity credits generated in one location to be bought and sold or transferred to the electricity bill of another location. This will enable people living in buildings, such as flats and apartments, unsuitable for roof-top solar, to still be active in the electricity market.

Responding to Council approval of changes to the Renewable Energy Directive, Molly Scott Cato said:

“Greens have long championed community ownership of renewable energy and people taking power into their own hands. This Directive will help citizens achieve this and generate an income from doing so.

“It is hugely disappointing that the Tory government in recent years have made community ownership more difficult. Policies such as cutting subsidies for solar power and introducing strict planning regulations around onshore wind has resulted in a flatlining in the growth of community energy. Instead, the government is throwing massive amounts of money at large expensive projects like Hinkley; taking power away from communities and putting it into the hands of large energy companies.

“If the government’s rhetoric about improving the environment within a generation means anything it will mean enabling future generations to take back control of energy. They must commit the UK to continue applying these rules if we leave the EU.”

The revised Renewable Energy Directive will now be voted on by the European Parliament, probably in October, before going back to the Council – EU governments – for final adoption.