Tens of thousands of homes and businesses across England are now powered by locally owned renewable energy projects, saving whole communities money and transforming the way power is generated in the UK.
In the last 12 months alone 62 new renewable power projects – capable of powering around 17,000 – have been made possible thanks to £25 million urban and rural community energy funds.
From solar panels fuelling three hospitals in Warwickshire, to the country’s first carbon-neutral tennis centre in Faringdon, support for grassroots energy is growing and since 2012 local investors have pumped almost £30 million into kick-starting their own community energy projects.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:
We’ve changed the way people power their homes and businesses by bringing communities together so they can generate their own energy.
Community energy is putting power over generation and bills in the hands of local people, helping them save money and make money while boosting jobs in the local area.
As more people get on board we will break up the need for the dominant energy companies – and really put the power back into the hands of consumers.
The vast majority of people, around 76 per cent, support the use of renewables and the new updated Community Energy Strategy outlines the steps we’re taking to make it easier for even more people to set up sustainable energy projects. This includes a £150,000 boost for a new online Community Energy Hub which will act as a one-stop shop for communities interested in generating their own energy.
The strategy also provides key guidance to help communities set up shareholder businesses and for local authorities to help speed up the processing of community energy applications.
Steve McNab, chair of social investment company, Pure Leapfrog, said:
The Community Energy Strategy has helped to deliver our vision of a fairer, sustainable and socially inclusive energy system. We want to see 500 megawatts of community energy by 2020 – equivalent to powering all the homes in Bristol – and are excited to work with government, communities and industry to deliver that ambitious target.
Notes to editors:
- Read the updated Community Energy Strategy.
- DECC’s recent public attitudes survey revealed that 76 per cent of people support the use of renewables to generate electricity, fuel and heat in the UK.
- From April 2015, community electricity projects will get further support under the Feed in Tariff Scheme. This pays the owners of small-scale renewable generation for the electricity they produce, helping to get their community energy projects off the ground.
- In February 2015, the government issued its response to actions outlined in The Shared Ownership Taskforce report.
- In November 2014, the government issued its response to the consultation on support for community energy projects under Feed in Tariffs.