Support local energy groups after government renewable energy scheme ends, say Greens

People should not be forced to choose ‘between heating and eating.’

Green Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty has urged the council to do more to support community energy projects as a government scheme designed to promote renewables comes to an end.

The ‘Feed-In Tariff’ scheme (FiTs) provides a payment to businesses or households generating their own electricity through the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power.  Despite the growth of sustainable energy achieved under the scheme, the Conservative government will officially close the Feed-In Tariff to new applicants on 1st April 2019. [1]

Greens have expressed concern that moves to scrap the scheme may affect local sustainable energy projects that have brought affordable, renewable energy to households in the city and helped to reduce carbon emissions. 

With over 14,000 households in the city in fuel poverty, Greens are calling for extra support to local groups such as Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative, (BHESCo) a community-owned energy group that has installed energy saving measures in hundreds of homes and businesses across the city and helped to reduce fuel bills.  [2][3]

Referring to a recent council decision to adopt a ‘climate emergency,’ Greens say work with community energy groups must be a priority so that progress on renewables can continue to thrive after the FiTs closes.

Kayla Ente, CEO of BHESCo, commented:

“We’re at a critical juncture in history. A recent report from the UN’s ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ (IPCC) said that humanity has until 2030 to radically address climate change or face irreversible catastrophic consequences.

“Individuals can often feel isolated and powerless about this, but together, we can build a strong movement that puts power back in the hands of local communities.

“Community energy groups like BHESCo are perfectly positioned to support local residents in the transition to clean energy because we know what works for Brighton and Hove and we understand people’s needs.

“The closure of the Feed-In-Tariff is unfortunate but hopefully it doesn’t mean solar energy is coming to an end. Falling prices for both solar panels and battery storage could make it much more affordable for people to go green. We are completing a solar panel and battery storage system for a homeowner in Hollingdean that will meet 90% of his electricity demand for a fixed price that is considerably less than what he is paying now for his electricity.  We are hoping that we can still offer these opportunities without the feed in tariff.  As electricity prices increase, this becomes more of a possibility.”

Green Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty added:

“It should be a source of national shame that so many people are forced to choose between heating and eating. On top of this, we know our reliance on fossil fuels for energy is exacerbating climate change. 

“Access to sustainable energy is vital to help keep our residents fuel bills down. Renewable energy run by, and for, our community offers all of us the opportunity to combat climate change, bring down fuel bills, improve energy efficiency and reach people in fuel poverty. Organisations like BHESCo are even able to look at pioneering new projects that will see food waste generate low cost heating for residents struggling to heat their homes.  

“The Conservative government’s decision to scrap incentives for renewables like the Feed-In Tariff must not be allowed to hold back the work of our fantastic local community energy projects. Although good progress has been made, we must double-down on the support the council can offer to the many local, sustainable energy co-operatives in the city. With a climate emergency declared in Brighton and Hove this work is essential.” 

In a YouGov ClientEarth poll [4] from August 2018, two thirds are in favour of breaking up the Big Six’s share of the energy market to favour smaller, cleaner, and locally owned energy systems. The poll also indicated that over 60% of U.K. households want to install solar plus storage solutions.


Notes for Editors

[1] Ofgem: “The Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) scheme is a government programme designed to promote the uptake of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies. Introduced on 1 April 2010, the scheme requires participating licensed electricity suppliers to make payments on both generation and export from eligible installations.” (

[2] Brighton and Hove City Council Fuel Poverty and Affordable Warmth Strategy, 2016-2020: “In the South East region fuel poverty was estimated to affect 8.1% of households and in Brighton & Hove the figure was estimated to be 11.9% (14,863 households), higher than both the national and regional averages.” ($

[3] About BHESCo:


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