Ensuring Local Energy Benefits People and Communities

insights from a peoples panel

In 2023, supported by funding from the Scottish Government, Regen, working with Shared Future’s facilitators, conducted a People’s Panel tasked with answering the question:

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

These fell into seven main themes:

Clarity, goals and outcomes, equitable participation, support and risk, local use of energy, shared ownership and Government.

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 report, published by Regen, is available here.