If the Bill is passed by Government, it would create a right to local supply. This means it would make the cost of selling locally generated clean energy comparable to the scale of the operation. These cheaper costs for community energy groups means that they can supply their energy in their local village or town, rather than back to the National Grid.
The District Council is determined to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable electricity as part of its Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency. The Council unanimously backed the motion brought to Full Council by Cllr Chown, and seconded by Cllr Jonathan Hawkins.
SHDC joins a growing number of over 120 local councils and authorities who have backed the Bill, which is also supported by both the South Hams MP's - Sir Gary Streeter and Anthony Mangnall.
If the Bill was to become law it would pave the way for local authorities to set up their own energy companies. This would improve the Council's carbon footprint and that of their communities. Money gained from such a scheme could then be ploughed back into things like energy efficiency schemes and other local services and facilities.
South Hams District Council's Ward Councillor for Wembury and Brixton, Cllr Matthew Chown, said: ""Many areas of the South Hams are fortunate enough to have community energy groups within them. They are often created by a few incredibly passionate and dedicated volunteers. One of my local energy groups, Yealm Community Energy, have been involved in the creation of two solar farms which produce enough renewable energy to power all of the homes within its five local parishes, but under the current system, this energy gets sold back to the central grid.
"However, if this Bill was passed in Parliament it would help these local groups to achieve their vision of supplying the generated energy back to the local area. This would help us to achieve our carbon reduction goals and also bringing multiple benefits to the local community. I am sure that this kind of micro generation and distribution is an important part of the renewable landscape as we move towards our carbon zero targets."
South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Keith Baldry, said: "We have got to support national policy change to help improve our environment and to reduce our carbon footprint. If we all lobby our local MPs to get this Local Electricity Energy Bill passed as a law, it will have a huge impact on the South Hams. It will cut out utility companies and allow communities to become registered suppliers.
"It can only be a good thing with local energy companies creating self-sufficient renewable energy which will benefit all of us. The people of South Hams would get to take more ownership of who provides their electricity, so it's a win-win scenario."
More information on 'Power for People' who are responsible for creating the Local Electricity Bill, can be found: powerforpeople.org.uk/the-local-electricity-bill/