TRESOC advocates for community renewables as a key component of community-led economic regeneration. Developing live projects – to demonstrate what’s possible – is our main priority, but in doing so we clearly see obstacles and opportunities all the way up to the governmental level, so therefore we believe lobbying is essential.
Member outreach, awareness raising and education are fundamental to what we do, but we have also been invited up to Westminster several times over the past year and have participated in the following events:
- Launch of the Co-operatives UK Report on Community Energy and the Energy Bill, November 2012
- Dept. of Energy and Climate Change Workshop on Access to Market for Independent Generators, April 2013
- The Guardian Roundtable Debate on Community Energy, September 2013. Download the resulting article, Power to the People
- Ofgem Workshop on Community Energy, September 2013
- Launch of the ResPublica Report on the “Community Renewables Economy”, September 2013
The ResPublica Report gives a good overview of the community renewables sector and points to the potential for growth. The Report says that community renewables could grow from current levels of less than 1% of on shore renewables capacity now, to 10% by 2027 “if certain barriers are dissolved and the appropriate policy framework put in place.”
The report recognises TRESOC activities in the section on Central Barriers to Growth of Community Energy, as follows: “A recent example in support of the effect of local authority attitudes and levels of awareness concerns the Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) wind farm. The Totnes Community Wind Farm, a project that Jonathan Porritt of Forum for the Future described as “one of the most well-designed and well-supported we’ve ever seen,” was denied planning permission early in 2013. The opinion of TRESOC was that ‘Local planning authorities don’t yet have the tools to balance parochial concerns against national strategic objectives for deployment of renewable energy.’ This suggests that greater information and training for decision makers – both planners and councillors – would be beneficial.”
It’s encouraging to find government now listening to us as it seeks to promote growth in the community renewables economy. Whether government realises that, for us, it’s not all about the money remains to be seen.
Ian Bright joined other community energy groups, with Regen SW on a study tour to Brussels in December 2016, meeting with Molly Scott, MP. This included a presentation from the Dirk Vansintjan, President of REScoop.eu , the European federation of groups and cooperatives of citizens for renewable energy.