Community Renewables

community Renewable energy Solar PV panels

Some very positive news - the government has just released a report about renewable energy and communities from the 'Shared ownership Taskforce' (a collection of renewable energy trade bodies, community group representatives and academics) which aims to encourage large renewable energy projects (over £2.5 million) to offer shares to communites, from as little as £5 up to a quarter of the whole project, in total. This is expected to be implemented in various ways, including shared ownership schemes, and seeks to overcome some of the local objections to planned projects. It will therefore benefit both industry and communities.

"We expect that by 2015 it will be the norm for communities to be offered the opportunity of some level of ownership of new, commercially developed onshore renewables projects."

It is also a chance for industry to avoid Ed Davey's (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) threatened push for legislation, if he does not see improvements in community engagement, which would see this kind of involvement with the local communities become mandatory. (Many other european countries already have extensive community stake involvement in local energy production). Companies would recoup any costs involved through accelerated planning applications grants, if community engagement is seen to be offered, and the plans are received favourably by local residents.

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