UK Community Energy Revolution Set to Begin
By Anne Lewis Schneider
The Community Energy Strategy is soon to be released and along with it will come some changes for the better to encourage communities to come together to generate their own wind or solar energy projects that would be linked into the grid and supply power to local communities which would in effect break the hold that the Big Six Energy Companies wield over their customers as far as gas and electricity supply and prices are concerned. Government has announced a package that would give communities the means to invest in what they are calling a Community Energy Revolution.
Ed Davey who is the Energy Secretary will unveil the plan shortly which is hoped will boost renewable energy schemes on a community level. This urban community scheme will give funding to neighbourhoods to the value of £150,000 with which they will be able to start up locally run and owned renewable energy such as solar PV panels, hydro-electric projects and also wind turbines. The DECC hopes that the Green Investment Bank will also be involved in this new scheme, and this could result in around one million homes supplies with renewable low carbon energy within the next 6 years.
Communities should band together and apply for funding to have their own renewable energy projects. Feasibility studies will be funded to the value of £20,000 and if found to be viable then funding to the value of £130,000 will be made available for the support of community projects from inception to completion. Currently the UK has approximately 5,000 community-run enterprises already and they are doing so successfully and it is hoped that this new initiative will encourage more communities to venture into self-supply of energy instead of being totally reliant upon the Big Six Energy Companies.
Friends of the Earth have said that this would be a good starting block to get communities on the road to being green and generating clean energy for local consumption. They do however feel that more needs to be done to make the UK a greener and cleaner energy user. They would like to see communities producing their own energy via solar and wind which would in turn generate jobs and assist with the problem of climate change and global warming. They feel that this is attainable if government removes barriers and makes share offers available to communities where green energy projects are going to be implemented in their communities. They feel that this is the key to more affordable energy prices.
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