New report on community-owned renewables sponsored by Infinergy

Along with trade organisation RenewableUK and a number of others, Infinergy has been a main sponsor of the new report by think tank ResPublica: Teh Community Renewables Economy, launched today by Energy Minister Greg Barker MP.

Key points:

• The new study “The Community Renewables Economy” reveals that there’s been a fourteen-fold increase in the total capacity of community-owned renewable energy projects installed over the last ten years – up from just over 4 megawatts in 2003 to nearly 60MW in 2013. The report says this could grow to at least 550MW by 2020.

• It recommends that local community groups should be given greater opportunities to get more involved in developing and owning local renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms.

• One of the most striking findings of this report is that two-thirds of communities reinvest, or intend to reinvest, revenue gained from renewables in further energy generation projects or energy efficiency technology, thus creating a virtuous circle.

• But the report warns that there are barriers to the deployment of community energy which need to be addressed. It says community groups need better access to funding, financial know-how and legal expertise. The study states that a more positive attitude from local authorities is needed to encourage communities to get involved. It also says local councils should give community support for projects due weight when making finely-balanced planning decisions. The report highlights the need to provide training to ensure that local authorities have enough knowledge about the vital importance of renewable energy, so that councillors can make fully informed decisions. It also urges local authorities to set a good example by investing council funds in clean energy projects.

• The report suggests that a joint ownership approach may be the best way forward, in which communities work with renewable energy developers, and /or local businesses and local authorities towards a common goal. The study proposes a match-making service to put interested community groups in touch with interested developers as a practical example of how this could be achieved.

• The report states that wind energy projects account for 80% of the installed capacity of all community-owned (or part-owned) renewable energy projects. Solar PV accounts for 10%, and other technologies including biomass, hydro, ground source heat pumps and anaerobic digestion make up the remaining 10%.

To view the report please click the link below.

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