Matthew Neville

Northumberland County Council bids on local wind and solar farms in new bill

Northumberland County Councillors have passed a motion to support renewable energy generation at a local level, at yesterday’s County Council meeting.

Currently, local renewable energy generators, such as wind and solar farms, are blocked from distributing to local communities through large upfront costs. The energy created is distributed into the national grid rather than being used to benefit communities in the area.

The purpose of the Local Electricity Bill is to encourage and enable local supply of electricity so that renewable energy can be generated and distributed in the same area to benefit residents, communities and local economies.

The bill calls for energy regulator Ofgem to set up local supplier licences and asks that local energy generators face set up and running costs that are proportional to the scale of their operations. This would allow local renewable energy generation projects to become financially feasible unlocking a huge potential for community owned energy.

Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, moved the motion to support the Local Electricity Bill, stating: “There is huge potential for community energy schemes in Northumberland.

“Unfortunately, there is a very large financial setup and running costs involved in selling locally generated renewable electricity to local customers making it almost impossible to benefit from our county’s natural resources in this way.

“The introduction of the Local Electricity Bill would allow for more of the money paid by residents towards electricity bills to be circulated in the local economy, there would be more skilled local jobs, more viable local businesses, and stronger local economies.”

Cllr Sanderson added: “The Council has taken exceptional steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the county and promote renewable energy to our residents and businesses in recent years.

“A Right to Local Supply for local energy suppliers would promote local renewable electricity supply by making the setup and running costs of selling renewable electricity to local customers proportionate to the size of the supply company.”

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