Reclaim the Power: join the camp for energy democracy

Reclaim the Power: join the camp for energy democracy

Date: 28 May 2015

It doesn’t come as a surprise that whilst support for renewable energy is being cut, government subsidies to the fossil fuel industry remain steady. G20 countries are spending an estimated $88 billion every year supporting oil and gas exploration – more than double what companies spend themselves.

Our government’s endeavour to open up to corporate control over the energy system has already proved to be a failure. Firstly it is undermining commitments to reduce carbon emissions and decrease fossil fuel dependency. Secondly it is increasing corporate profits at the expense of people being pushed into fuel poverty.

As if it weren’t bad enough, the government is also trying to sell false solutions to climate change. That is the case of the UK initiative to escalate the use of gas in the next years, as a less polluting alternative to coal. But when extraction, including immensely harmful methods such as fracking, and transportation are added to this equation, gas isn’t really a greener alternative.

The good news is that people will not stand for a corporate takeover, and therefore mobilisations have been spreading around the world. History has proved how effective activism and civil disobedience can be to challenge power structures and defend people’s rights. But if we are to confront the fossil fuel industry, we need a (global justice) movement that is broadened and emboldened. With the UN Climate Talks, COP21, in Paris, just around the corner, we’ve got no time to waste.

Over the next few days, 29 May – 2 June, hundreds of activists from all over the UK will gather around the Didcot gas-fired power station, in Oxfordshire, to train skills and strengthen the movement for energy democracy. Inspired by youth festivals living alternative realities and radical democracy in late 20th century, Reclaim the Power Didcot Camp will bring people together, celebrate diversity across cultures andcreate a sense of community in a fun and friendly atmosphere. With an extensive programme of workshops, the camp will culminate in a day of mass Action, on Monday, 1 June, throughout the UK. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Last year’s actions included activities ranging from family-friendly marches to office occupations.

The reason Didcot was chosen for this year’s camp lies in the fact that the UK government has approved the construction of over 30 new gas-fired power stations by 2030 – which will raise the proportion of gas of the UK electricity production to about 50%. RWE Npower, one of the Big Six energy companies controlling UK’s energy supply, has already shut down one of Didcot stations and will decide on the future of the remaining part of Didcot power station by December.

The time for fossil fuels has passed. As renewable energy is now cheaper than ever, there are no excuses to continue investing in dirty energy (other than benefiting corporate pockets of course!)

As Reclaim the Power writes, there’s no future for a new dash for gas. Alternative solutions are burgeoning around the world as people challenge undemocratic corporate powers. This weekend’s mass action camp will shed some light on those alternatives, and encourage people to take part of a worldwide movement for energy democracy. Come along and join the movement for a fair energy system!