The government's Energy Bill (as in a new law concerning energy, not the envelope from the power company that thwacks onto your doormat every quarter) is the biggest shake up of the UK's energy system for decades.
If the government gets it right, the Energy Bill is a fantastic opportunity to get Britain on the road to meeting our carbon targets while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in clean technology.
In its current version however, the Bill has a few shortcomings, which we need to be addressed now. Following the environmental select committee's report which analysed the bill in detail, climate minister Ed Davey and his colleagues will now be preparing a final draft to take to parliament in winter.
The Bill deals with a whole wealth of issues related to our energy market. But we've picked out three particular ones we think 10:10ers can support to give us a better, low carbon future:
The ideal would be a decarbonised electricity system, made up of a mix of renewable, low carbon sources where a unit's footprint isn't 500g but 50g of CO2 by 2030 at the very latest. The Bill is currently a bit vague and leaves room for error by aiming to be largely decarbonised by the 2030s rather than committing firmly to this goal (see Draft Energy Bill, page 10). We need to make sure it's de-vagueified into a clear target for a 50 gram grid.
In past years, the 10:10 community has shown that everyone can cut carbon! Many more people and businesses would follow suit if government provided better help and support to do so. We'd like the bill to focus on this opportunity by putting in place systems and regulations that support society in gradually decarbonising at every level.
Currently our electricity system is largely owned by big players, but community owned energy is on the rise thanks to incentive schemes such as the Feed-in-Tariff and relaxing the planning requirements for small scale solar installations.
10:10's Solar Schools are just some of the beneficiaries of these schemes. And while the Energy Bill aims to encourage schemes where local people benefit from the power produced, it also features a range of stumbling blocks which mean that systems meant to encourage new renewables will clearly benefit big players over smaller ones ("It will become a "big boys' game" that will not work for "little people"). That's why we want the bill to remove some of the hurdles faced by communities and actively support community-owned energy projects.