Government must begin to recognise the potential of renewable energy in the community sector if the UK is to reach its legally-binding climate change, emissions and fuel poverty targets.

That is the main premise of a new report from ResPublica, which is backed by Friends of the Earth. The Re-energising our Communities: Transforming the energy market through local energy production publication is being launched in response to Government’s feed-in tariff consultation.

The report sets out a series of recommendations designed to open up the energy market – which is currently dominated by the Big Six, by putting local communities at the heart of the development of new projects and ensuring that they enjoy more of the economic benefits from sustainable energy production.

Ed Mayo, ResPublica Fellow and Director General of Co-operatives UK, said: “The beauty of co-operatively-owned, community-level renewable energy is that it solves the twin issues of social acceptance and economic efficiency. This report is right to call for intelligent nudges to make it easier for people to come together, reversing decades of energy policies limited to ‘big is beautiful.’ Everyone benefits if we can draw community energy production into the centre of the new energy economy.”

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director, Andy Atkins, said: “Boosting community energy schemes will enable more cash-strapped households to free themselves from the power of the Big Six and earn money from clean British energy.

“It’s time for Ministers to really give power to the people,” Atkins concluded.

The full report can be read here.