Community energy offers the chance to foster tightly bound resilient and energy conscious communities, with long-term revenue streams. Local ownership gives individuals and communities a vested interest in efficiently managing and maintaining projects, and helps disperse all manner of benefits across society in the process. Producing and storing energy closer to your home and community also makes thermodynamic sense, especially for dispersed and intermittent resources such as solar, tidal and wind.
Communities have a key role to play in increasing the supply of renewable electricity, heat and transport energy to meet 15% of UK demand by 2020 – a huge increase over current levels of renewable energy supply which requires a very different pattern of energy generation from existing large centralised fossil fuel and nuclear plants.
Realisation of this level of renewable energy production involves a variety of technologies with large numbers of small scale power generation plants, widely distributed in every city, town, village and parish.
Local community ownership, in whole or in partnership, is a key factor influencing acceptability of all forms of renewable energy. It’s a very different experience to look at a wind turbine if it is putting money in your pocket rather than simply adding to the profits of a large corporation. All over the country, people of all ages and walks of life are putting in time, expertise and their savings to form community energy organisations, taking responsibility for local renewable energy production. The sector has grown from 4.1 MW in 2003 to 58.9 MW capacity in 2013, a growth rate 3 times faster than total UK renewables capacity over the same period.
TRESOC is a pioneer in community/industry partnership, find out more.