Oxford councils must consider setting up an energy co-operative to help cut energy bills. Southampton and Woking councils both have their own energy generation helping to reduce their energy bills. Both councils have plans to extend their schemes to cover more local housing.
Green Party Councillor David Williams wants both the City and County councils to give higher priority to local energy options. He explains:
Pioneering efforts by Southampton and Woking councils have helped these local authorities keep their own energy bills under control. They now intend to extend the benefits of their efforts to their local communities, including supplying more households with energy. Oxford City Council and our County Council can investigate the cost advantages of investing in renewable systems of energy generation to cut their own costs, and those of local residents in the longer term.
It is also possible for the Councils to support the formation of energy cooperatives. Brighton has an active energy cooperative expanding renewable electricity supplies in Brighton and neighbouring areas. Plans already exist for more renewable energy in Didcot and further expansion of the efforts of the Westmill Solar team, which has a solar park near Watchfield. Cooperatives UK has issued a major report on this growing energy sector with case studies of working examples of energy cooperatives around the country. It would clearly be better to use council reserves to support energy conservation and clean energy than allow more Oxfordshire households to join the estimated 4.5 million UK households in fuel poverty.