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Coalition of groups representing 12 million people hails localising of energy generation, but bemoans lack of state support
Community-owned green energy projects present the best chance of converting the UK to a low-carbon economy and should receive more government support, civil society groups representing 12 million people said on Wednesday.
Giving local people a stake in energy generation often overcomes planning objections to structures such as wind and solar farms, and dozens of communities across the UK have seized the opportunity to create their own power. But the move has not been fast enough, according to the coalition of community groups, which adds that many places are missing out on the chance to produce their own low-carbon and low-cost energy, supported by government subsidies.
The civil society groups include some of the leading non-governmental organisations in the UK, including the Co-operative, the National Trust, the Church of England and the National Federation of Women's Institutes.
Representatives of all the groups were set to meet Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, to press their case.
Community energy received a serious setback last year when the government first introduced plans to restrict the subsidies available for solar power to small-scale domestic projects, then slashed solar subsidies across the board in a move the High Court subsequently branded unlawful. Though ministers have had to rethink their plans, the outlook for community solar projects has been dimmed, and the Guardian has uncovered numerous examples of community-scale projects that have been shelved as a result.
The setback came despite pre-election promises from ministers to give people more of a stake in their local energy generation.