UK tries to hamper EU citizens selling their own renewable energy

Leaked documents show British government attempts to weaken aspects of the proposed Renewable Energy Directive

An environmental think tank suggested that UK proposals would “restrict the most transformational element of the clean energy package”. Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

As Brexit looms, the British government has been pushing to weaken EU measures that would help European citizens sell renewable energy that they generate themselves, according to leaked documents obtained by Unearthed.

Analysis of UK comments on the provisions for so-called ‘energy citizens’ – which are set out in proposals for a revised EU Renewable Energy Directive – reveals attempts to curb prospects for households selling excess electricity generated from their own solar panels.

The UK delegation’s suggestions include introducing limits on households’ ability to share power generated by community renewable energy projects and enabling charges to be levied on homes that seek to sell their electricity to the grid.

If implemented, the UK’s proposals would “restrict the most transformational element of the clean energy package” and “significantly limit the ability for all citizens to engage in the energy transition,” according to Manon Dufour, an analyst at environmental think-tank E3G.

The UK is far from alone among member states in resisting the push towards decentralised, community energy in the EU, but its approach may nevertheless raise eyebrows given its plans to imminently exit the union.