Greens welcome plans to allow local councils to sell electricity to the National Grid

The Green Party has welcomed reports that the government is about to overturn a 34-year-old ban on councils supplying electricity from small-scale green schemes to the National Grid.

(See DECC Press Release: PN10/078: ‘Carbon footprint for England’s local councils revealed’)

The Local Government Act of 1976 prohibited local councils in England and Wales from selling electricity not produced alongside heat. The rule was brought in to protect emerging private electricity companies. It effectively banned the sale of energy from renewable sources to the national grid.

The ban is likely to be overturned later this month as the government prepares to publish an Energy Bill to be introduced in the autumn. The new bill is designed to make it easier for homeowners and businesses to save energy, reduce emissions and cut their bills.

Welcoming the news, Keith Ross of Swansea Green Party said, “At last, a positive measure from the new government towards achieving our targets for renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions.

“This is not only about producing their own electricity needs from renewable sources, it also allows local councils to generate income from the excess energy produced. This is good news for local council treasurers and Council Tax payers at a time when we are all having to tighten our belts.

“Studies have indicated that solar panels fitted to the average town hall building could raise thousands of pounds a year for a local authority, while stand-alone wind turbines could generate electricity worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“Swansea has two large civic buildings in perfect locations for taking advantage of solar energy; not to mention the numerous smaller buildings, schools, community centres, etc. that are owned by the Council across the City and County.

“Freeing up local councils in this way will also allow Swansea Council to invest in future schemes to take advantage of wave and tidal energy potential in Swansea Bay; thus ensuring further benefits for the people of Swansea and Gower.

Keith Ross concluded, “This is great news for Swansea, as we are ideally placed to take full advantage from wind, solar and tidal energy. Swansea Council is ahead of the game when it comes to recycling waste; we will now be looking to them to take the lead in small-scale renewables.”

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