Insights from a Peoples Panel on Home Energy

Ensuring Local Energy Benefits:

In 2023, working with Shared Future’s facilitators and supported by funding from the Scottish Government, Regen, an independent not for profit with a mission to transform the world’s energy systems for a zero carbon future, conducted a People’s Panel. It’s participants were tasked with answering the question:

Download the report

“The way we use energy in our homes and communities is changing, with many communities and councils developing their own solutions. How should this be done so that it involves and benefits people in a fair way?”

The panel was selected from across Scotland, with the 22 members meeting on four evenings in April and May 2023. They heard from experts about how the energy system is changing, and the different types of local and community energy solutions being developed.

They finally developed a set of principles to ensure that local and community energy policies involve and benefit people in a fair way.

  1. Provide clarity. For example, having clear definitions around how projects will work, agreements around roles and responsibilities, and transparency of budgets.
  2. Set out goals and outcomes. Aims, success metrics, shared values and priorities should be established at the outset, and ensure that everyone benefits, with a fair distribution of benefits.
  3. Enable equitable participation. This could be achieved through population-based awareness raising of community and local energy, engagement and promotion of projects and participation opportunities across the whole community, and routes for democratic governance structures.
  4. Provide support and minimise risks. Support the community, for example in project engagement and delivery tasks, and help them manage and minimise risks to community members.
  5. Support the local use of local energy. Enable energy generated locally to be used by the local community.
  6. Enhance shared ownership. Support opportunities over the lifetime of the project and ensure companies don’t make excessive profits at the expense of the community.
  7. Be supported by government. Ensure government provides conclusive and resourcing support for community and local energy, as well as support and accountability for councils.

Panel members noted that change needs to be apolitical, with consensus between all the political parties and at all levels of Government. They felt that there will need to be a major society change in order for this to happen, and that Scottish Government needs to:

“be more radical, take more steps towards promoting green energy production but also to ensure appropriate energy use and look at conserving energy when that’s appropriate, and ensure that there’s greater fairness so that there’s caps on profits and more support to the people that need it to pay their bills”.

The insights also fed into a report by Regen to the Scottish Government, which made six high-level recommendations and 19 evidence-based recommendations for unlocking local and community energy in Scotland.

The report was released by Regen in early February 2024.

Download the Report: Ensuring Local Energy Benefits