A Private Members Bill, the Local Electricity (No. 2) Bill, aims to pave the way for small generators of low-carbon energy to sell their energy locally and to sell power back to the grid. To most people this idea seems like a 'no brainer' however there are considerable hurdles in its path.

The bill sponsored by David Wantage MP, aims to ensure that local businesses, community assets and home owners, such as offices, schools, village halls and private homes etc. might generate electricity and sell it back to the grid. It is estimated that this could lead to an estimated 11 million onshore micro power generating units contributing to the UK's power needs.

The principle is a sound one, however, there are sizeable technological challenges involved in creating bi-directional flow: you cannot simply connect up and power up the grid and hope for the best. Fluctuations in voltage cause outages.

The problem lies with the integrity of the national electricity grid. The grid is outdated to run and maintained by the now privatised public companies, the National Grid PLC, Scottish Power PLC and SSE PLC. These companies understandably have little appetite to spend the vast sums that are required to make changes possible to allow bi-directional flow and they cite regulation and licencing problems too.

It is unlikely that the Local Electricity (No. 2) Bill will ever make it through the House of Commons without a lot of extra support.

Deja vu, some 326 MPs and 70 plus community groups supported a similar bill (also sponsored by David Wantage MP) and debated in parliament in 2022. The proposals were then rejected by the government. 

External links

The Local Energy (no.2) Bill (a current private members bill  in 2023)

Hansard: Enabling community energy debate 2022

The Local Energy Bill (version from 2022)

EU research connecting small energy producers to the grid

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