‘Put green energy into local hands’

12 October 2012: Good letter in today’s Financial Times:

“Sir, Your report about how numerous German towns, cities and regions are leading the country’s Energiewende away from nuclear power towards renewables and energy efficiency makes for fascinating reading (“Market reforms move power to the people”, Analysis, October 10). This is what the UK government’s “green deal” and “green investment bank” should be all about – giving local authorities the resources to promote community renewable energy schemes, energy efficiency and microgeneration projects; and this may possibly allow for any profits to be reinvested into local services stretched to the limit in the current recession.

If cities such as Munich, Cologne and Hamburg can lead the way with such policies, why not Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff or Fife, Caerphilly and the Shetland Islands? Local councils have a much greater appreciation of local energy needs and the energy-saving measures that can help reduce fuel poverty than Whitehall mandarins. I know there is a great appetite in local government for moving from an overly centralised energy market towards satisfying decentralised community energy needs.

If this policy was energetically pursued then I believe there would be no need to worry about the lights going out in 2015, and the billions of pounds of public money planned for new nuclear or shale fracking investment could rather be diverted to a clean, jobs-rich and sustainable energy alternative.

Brian Goodall, Chair, UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities, c/o NFLA Secretariat, Manchester, UK”

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