Dear Mr James Heappey, MP for Wells, and Mr John Penrose, MP for Weston-super-Mare,

‘Empowering community energy schemes’ debate, Tues 30th November, 2.30-4.00pm – the Local Electricity Bill

Burnham & Weston Energy is a local, community-owned, renewable energy generation company supporting communities in the Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare areas of your respective constituencies.  We write openly to thank you for the being amongst the Leading Supportive MPs in favour of the Local Electricity Bill.

Community energy companies are vital to meeting local electricity needs

As supporters of the Local Electricity Bill, you will be aware of how vital community generated renewable energy is to meeting current and future power needs locally:

  • Around £360million per year is currently leaving our local economy due to energy spend. This is set to rise as the UK anticipates “a potential doubling of electricity demand and consequently a fourfold increase in low-carbon electricity generation.” – Energy White Paper, December 2020. As a community energy company, Burnham & Weston Energy has an important role in retaining some of this money in our local economy and, should the Local Electricity Bill become law, could have a greater role in stemming the exodus.


  • Burnham & Weston Energy currently generates enough energy to power 2000 homes. We are actively pursuing other projects. However, although we utilise our £50k annual profits to support local community net zero-related projects, we cannot power local homes – the energy we generate goes into the national grid. Should the Local Electricity Bill become law, community energy companies could supply our locally-produced, guaranteed green, electricity direct to local homes. This would enable us to contribute to the security of our local energy supply and leverage a more significant reduction in local carbon emissions, greater local investment, and ultimately a greater community benefit.


  • The local socio-economic benefit delivered by community energy companies outweighs renewable provision by national or local energy companies. A study recently conducted by Devon County Council indicated that a 30 megawatt (MW) community solar farm would generate an additional £15.27m in socio-economic value to the Devon economy versus £4.0m generated by a non-local commercial equivalent or a local commercial equivalent product, which would generate savings and benefits of £10.42m.


  • Passing the Bill into law would also enable community energy’s potential for growth and for benefiting the local community. The community energy sector is currently at less than a tenth of its anticipated capacity to generate 3000MW of electricity by 2020 (The Department for Energy and Climate Change; Community Renewable Electricity Generation; January 2014) – today community energy accounts for less than 0.5% of the UK’s electricity generating supply.


  • Improving our capacity to deliver against net zero objectives would also allow community energy companies like Burnham & Weston Energy greater opportunity to drive the local economy through creating green jobs. In Sedgemoor it is estimated that 3,305 jobs in the low carbon and renewable energy sectors will be required by 2030; by 2050, 5164 jobs will be needed. In North Somerset, it is expected that 2,058 low carbon and renewable energy jobs will be needed by 2030, and 3,210 jobs by 2050. A significant proportion of these jobs in both areas will be in low carbon electricity. Jobs in energy efficiency, where both retrofit of existing buildings and helping people to reduce their energy demand, will also be key.


  • Community energy companies like Burnham & Weston Energy could also have a crucial role to play in engaging our communities, raising awareness and supporting behaviour change and inclusion in action that enables net zero by 2030 (our local target). The Climate Change Committee warns “if the people of the UK are not engaged in this challenge – the UK will not deliver Net Zero by 2050… people need to be brought into the decision-making process and derive a sense of ownership of the Net Zero project.” The Environmental Audit Committee had recommended in April that “Due to the urgency of the climate crisis and the vital roles communities will have to play in reaching net zero, it is essential that a timely solution to support the long-term growth of community energy across the UK is found.” As was revealed by participants in our ‘COP26: what does it mean for Sedgemoor and North Somerset’ events last week, clear communication of why and how to take action on climate change is needed. With support from government, community energy companies could be a catalyst for exponential benefit and driving more positive change to our locality.


MP support of the Local Electricity Bill is vital to community energy companies

MP support is vital to the future and potential of community energy companies like Burnham & Weston Energy. We hope that you will write to the Energy Minister, Greg Hands MP, asking that he also attends the ‘Empowering community energy schemes’ debate tomorrow, Tuesday 30th November, and speaks in favour of the Bill.

Thank you for recognising the opportunity Burnham & Weston Energy and similar organisations have locally for further generating clean energy, contributing to a secure energy supply whilst benefiting our local communities and economy. If you would like to know more about Burnham & Weston Energy and the impact we have across Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare, please get in touch as we are keen to share with you more about our local 9.3MW solar farm and the projects we fund.

Meanwhile, thank you also for championing community energy nationally.  We are looking forward to following the debate at 2.30pm on Tuesday 30th November, and to understanding the implications of the outcome.

With warm regards,


Lynda Wookey
Impact and Development Director 
Burnham & Weston Energy CIC | Local energy for local people

01278 558 370  |

About the Local Electricity Bill