[:en]Wales and the UK lag far behind our European neighbours and some states in the USA regarding local energy production. The ‘Shine a Light?’ film proposes that all UK political parties commit themselves to locally owned renewable energy schemes.
Politicians should acknowledge that such schemes are becoming significant in combating climate change. These schemes also build more resilient communities, creating local jobs and new opportunities. Contributors include: former MP Alan Simpson, who describes himself as a ‘recovering politician’. He has recently been an advisor to the Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee and comments:
“I think the UK debate has been wrongly focused on windfarms, fracking, etc. It is a question whether localities have: a) ownership of what is being proposed, and b): whether they are direct beneficiaries of the gains that come out of it.”
Calvin Jones, Professor of Economics Cardiff University says: “In a perfect world I would see not only local communities but poor local communities being in charge of owning and controlling the sort of energy future we are talking about.”
The film also profiles practitioners who are amongst the real local heroes of renewable energy in Wales. Supported by local groups across Wales, the film, made by Park6 Productions and produced by Sustainable Wales, aims to create a favourable climate for local energy.
Producer, Margaret Minhinnick, Director Sustainable Wales says: “Shine a Light? supports the idea of democratising our energy supply, bringing ownership and profit back into communities whilst reducing climate change. Local energy schemes are massively important in Germany and other EU countries, creating local jobs and supporting the local economy.”
Robert Proctor of Community Energy Wales states: “We have the opportunity to make a transition to clean renewable energy and develop an energy system that is socially owned. In the lead up to the Welsh Assembly elections it is important that Wales’s energy future is a top priority”.
This film shares a vision of the future, what it could be and examines what it will take to get there. It also illustrates the difficulties that communities have in developing such initiatives, and urges the next Welsh government and local authorities to rectify this.
Members of Community Energy Wales want to see:
• Targets for community energy in Wales
• A right of local supply
• Easing of the planning process for Community Renewables
• Measures to address grid constraints
• A community right to buy in Wales
• Co-ordinated and co-designed support for Community Energy in Wales
Welsh Local Government Association climate change projections suggest that if we don’t plan ahead extreme weather events will become more prevalent. The conditions outlined below are likely:
• essential infrastructure (transport, IT energy, waste) may be compromised;
• water and food supply may be disrupted;
• risks to communities increase, especially among the elderly and other vulnerable groups;
• economic productivity may be reduced due to flooding, high temperatures and transport impacts;
• agriculture may suffer due to loss of soils, lack of water;
• ecosystems services (flood retention, food production) may be degraded.[:]