Calls For Funding For Energy Projects
By Cynthia Taylor
MP’s have urged that institutions, business and communities be given financial support for the installation of schemes for medium-sized renewable energy projects like solar panels and wind turbines.
Schemes for locals using solar panels and wind turbines would be able to provide cheaper electricity to the communities and also encourage people to use measures to save energy.
The local schemes should be able to provide cheaper electricity, cut costs and encourage communities and businesses in saving measures, as well as increasing the energy security for UK argued the Energy and Climate Change committee.
Energy supply on a local level could provide a huge proportion of the energy capacity for UK in the future, but large scale project would still be supplying the major portion of power for the country.
Household that install the small scale systems e.g. solar panels as well as the major projects get financial support from the Government, the medium sized schemes that are between 10 and 50 MWh are short changed and receive no cash support.
The committee has argued that the government should bring forward proposals in support of such schemes that will incentivise the people to install, at the same time introduce a package of measures that will address the planning, finance, grid access as well as advice.
The Green Investment Bank (GIB) backed by government could provide the seed financing and cash for project development for feasibility studies, grid permits, and other elements that will reduce any risks to get the schemes off the ground.
Projects for energy locally, struggle with problems of costs and obtaining planning permission, being able to connect to the grid, opposition from the public, and obtaining funding for their schemes said the report from the committee.
Medium sized project could fall under wind turbines, district heating schemes. Solar arrays which include a number of panels, any of these could be run by councils, or are locally owned by companies, organisations such as hospitals or universalities.
Dr Alan Whitehead said that to encourage businesses, schools and other institutions as well as local authorities to be able to generate their own electricity locally can have benefits for the community as well as the UK.
Businesses will be able to reduce their overheads for energy, communities will be able to benefit from cheaper electricity or for heating, and the local councils will be able to make inroads into fuel poverty and also reduce carbon emissions as well as cut costs.
These medium scale power plants will help boost the UK’s energy security. Local schemes for heating will be helpful at balancing the troughs and peaks in supply of electricity by storing energy when there is a surplus, as hot water, from the generated electricity.
It is unlikely that projects locally can eliminate the need for the larger power stations, government support could help these medium sized projects, to provide a significant proportion of the energy needs for capacity in the UK and also reducing emissions and to increase efficiency.
The report has also urged the government to encourage local authorities to look for suitable areas for development of renewable energy projects in their community.
The report continued that the councils should set out clear guidelines with regard to expectations from the local energy projects, and thus, reduce any risks in the planning stages preventing bad projects being put forward.
Government is also urged to encourage businesses to offer the local people an opportunity to have a stake in the new energy projects, or to make ownership for community mandatory and help boost support for any new power schemes.
Donna Hume from Friends of the
Earth felt that government was not doing enough to help the small businesses, schools, councils to save on fuel bills, they should be encouraging them to generate their own power from renewable cheap resources of energy.
She continued that supporting of these medium sized energy projects will reduce the reliance on the “Big Six” energy companies who have had the UK hooked on imported gas for decades.
Ms. Hume also said that Ministers should be using the current Energy Bill, together with the forthcoming community strategy for energy to give the local people a stake in clean energy resources from heating schemes and solar arrays.
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