I am grateful for the opportunity to open this Adjournment debate on an issue that I know is of great importance to not only communities in Ceredigion, but, as is evidenced by the attendance of hon. Members in the Chamber this evening, communities across these islands.
We face many pressing challenges as a society: the health and economic consequences of the covid-19 pandemic have been debated today, but just as pressing are the devastating impacts of climate change. If we are to meet these challenges and, ultimately, emerge stronger, more secure and more prosperous, it is vital that we transition rapidly to a society powered by energy generated from renewable sources. The Committee on Climate Change has been clear that the UK is off track to achieve our commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and meet our obligations under the Paris climate agreement. At present, renewable electricity generation accounts for only 11% of all UK energy use, and our transport and heating networks need to be electrified to decarbonise our economy. If we were successful in doing this, new policies and regulations would be needed to ensure that the resulting rise in electricity demand was met by renewable generation.
There is good news: villages, towns and cities across the land possess incredible potential for community renewable energy projects, such as solar arrays in fields, wind turbines, and hydro units in rivers. Such schemes support local skilled jobs and offer local economic opportunities.