Our thoughts on energy policy

This policy document is the current draft (23/04/2022) of our position on energy policy, both locally, nationally, as well as more widely.

These documents are always under discussion and feel free to contact us on hello@bathcampaigns.org.uk.

  1. The climate crisis, the steep rise in energy bills and Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine have all turned our minds to the way that energy is provided in the UK.
  2. The future of the planet requires us to stop the extraction of fossil fuels and move to a more sustainable energy system.
  3. But we must do this in such a way as to safeguard the livelihoods of the workers in the fossil fuel industry.
  4. And we need to improve the conditions of the estimated six million people expected to be in fuel poverty by the end of 2022.
  5. A transition to an energy system which is both green and socially and economically just is possible. It just depends how you go about it!
  6. In addition to being the cleanest source of energy, renewables are also the cheapest. And the more they are developed and installed the cheaper they will get.
  7. We could set renewables up to provide electricity direct to consumers thereby safeguarding them from the volatile energy market. We have the technology but policy changes are required. It just depends on the political will!
  8. Because sunshine, wind and water are abundant we can install renewables almost anywhere, leading to increased energy security. Decentralised renewables are not prone to the market volatility and geopolitical blackmail and conflict we see with oil and gas.
  9. Alongside renewable generation we need to stop wasting energy, especially heat. UK homes are the least energy efficient in Europe.
  10. A mass home energy efficiency programme would be a win-win for both the poorest in our society and the planet, leading to reduced energy bills, reduced carbon emissions, more comfortable homes, reduced health problems and consequent cost savings for the NHS.
  11. This cannot be left to the private sector. Significant Government investment needs to be guaranteed over a period of several years to trigger the skills training and jobs creation required.
  12. And these provisions must be made affordable or provided free to those millions of people suffering from fuel poverty.
  13. Such a programme could have been created as part of the Government’s April 2022 Energy Security Strategy. The lack of it demonstrates our Government’s lack of concern for the plight of millions of its citizens.
  14. By investing in renewables and home energy efficiency we have the potential to effectively respond to the climate crisis, reduce fuel poverty and create thousands of new, tax paying green jobs.
  15. And, if investment is put into retraining, we could enable workers in the fossil fuel industries to switch over to these new green jobs.
  16. However, we will struggle to achieve these things if we leave it to the market, where shareholder greed always comes before public need.
  17. Government must take the lead.
  18. However, we’ll no doubt hear the usual cry of ‘where is the magic money tree’?
  19. The big private energy giants are swimming in money!
  • Shell made £14.2 billion in profit in 2021 and BP made £9.5 billion, its highest in eight years.
  • The UK’s Big Six energy suppliers raked in more than a billion pounds of profit.
  • The UK Government gives tax breaks and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry to the tune of £10 billion a year.
  • North Sea oil and gas companies pay the lowest government tax in the world for an offshore energy regime.
  1. According to Greenpeace, a Windfall Tax of 70% (still less than both Norway and Mexico) could raise £4 billion for emergency help to families in fuel poverty plus energy efficiency measures to cut their bills in future.

  2. The fact that this is not being done demonstrates that filling shareholders pockets is deemed more important than raising millions of people out of fuel poverty.

  3. Currently our energy system, including generators, system operators and suppliers, are predominantly in private hands. This means shareholders will always take priority over consumers, workers, communities and the environment.

  4. To really ‘take back control’ and increase energy security we need to transition to democratic ownership of our energy system, making it more responsive to the needs of both people and planet.

  5. This would require state ownership of a big chunk of the system.

  6. However, a more decentralised, renewables-based energy system throws up opportunities for parts of it to be owned and controlled by regional/local authorities or by community energy organisations such as our own Bath & West Community Energy.

  7. Bath Campaigns will collaborate with climate action groups, trade unions and social justice organisations to put the pressure on for a Just Green Transition based on:

    a. The deployment of cheap renewables and a mass home energy efficiency programme to lift people out of fuel poverty.

    b. The creation of new green jobs and a programme to enable fossil fuel workers to move into these jobs.

    c. A democratisation of the energy system so that it prioritises the needs of people and planet over shareholder profit

You can download a PDF of the document from the link below:

Header image courtesy of: Photo by Ashes Sitoula on Unsplash


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *