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LEMA’s Magic Wand: enacting energy sharing

Earlier this month, at the Decentralised Energy Show in Telford UK, the most common panel question was “if you had a magic wand what would be the first thing you would like to see happen?”

Simon Anderson

3/26/20242 min read

Earlier this month, at the Decentralised Energy Show in Telford UK, the most common panel question was “if you had a magic wand what would be the first thing you would like to see happen?”

Now, LEMA is not a lobbying organisation: our aim is to come up with pragmatic solutions that work in the current environment.  But that doesn’t mean to say we don’t have a view on what is needed and what we would like to see happen. So our answer would be:

to see energy sharing legislation enacted in the UK

This may sound like a big ask - but it isn’t.

In 2015 I was part of the smartEn team that helped shape the responses to what became the EU’s ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ package. This included both the Citizen and the Renewable Energy Community legislation which has subsequently been ratified in a number of countries. So this legislation is there, on the shelf and the UK contributed towards it. It would be a relatively simple matter to dust it off, revise and implement it in the UK.

Why does this matter? Take the example of CleanWatts, one of our Founder Members. They install big solar arrays on industrial roofs and share the excess generation with the rural fuel poor cutting their energy bills. They have a long waiting list of companies keen to take part for their own and their community’s benefit. CleanWatts want to come to the UK – but they can’t: the legislation has not been ratified and even peer to peer trading is not facilitated. This simple, effective, proven solution is denied to our citizens.

Then there is the contrast between electricity and district heating. Competition is considered essential to electricity supply to keep prices down. On the other hand, for heating, the bigger proportion of most peoples’ bills, there is a growing drive to introduce monopolistic, expensive district heating systems. For example, in January, Inside Housing reported on the Lambeth Council tenants threatened with eviction due to being unable to pay their heat network energy bills. Bills had increased by over 350% year on year[1]. In contrast, whilst energy sharing within communities is not allowed in the UK, LEMA can demonstrate how a simple wave of a magic wand could transform this picture and deliver real, money in the pocket, financial benefits to consumers of up to 50%, without inflicting a monopoly, and without up-front costs.

You don’t believe us? Come and join LEMA to see how this could be achieved. We are actively working on ways of getting up to 30%  energy savings on new build properties without energy sharing. If we did have a magic wand this could increase significantly.

Food for thought…

[1] https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/comment/lambeth-councils-eviction-threats-expose-the-problems-with-heat-networks--but-there-are-solutions-85298#:~:text=Second%2C%20heat%20networks%20have%20suffered,lose%20as%20much%20as%2070%2