The Welsh cabinet secretary for the environment has called for 1GW of renewable energy to be locally owned by 2030. Lesley Griffiths made the commitment to members of the Welsh Assembly yesterday, as she also set a new target for Wales to generate 70 per cent of its electricity from renewables by the same date. She added by 2020, she expects all new renewable energy projects to have “at least an element of local ownership”.
Utility Week 29th Sept 2017 read more »
The Scottish Government (SG) should open discussions to establish a mechanism to enable ‘subsidy free’ community renewable schemes. It is great news to see a decline in costs of offshore wind schemes, but as good as they are, they are not involving ordinary people. Community renewable schemes, defined as being schemes in which over half the equity is owned by individual investors, can ensure popular ownership of energy systems. This could apply to wind power, solar pv or micro-hydro. This should be done on a pilot scheme basis to begin with. Because of the decline in wind and solar power costs it seems likely that some renewable energy projects in Scotland could be established assuming current levels of power prices that generators can receive on wholesale power markets. The projects would certainly count as ‘subsidy free’. But they need long term assurances about income streams, something that the Scottish Government could provide at minimal risk to the public purse. A scheme could be established by the SG to set up a back-up loan facility to give ‘top-up’ payments for community renewable generators. This could ensure that the generators received at least the income that they would do if wholesale power prices were at the current level of, say, £45 per MWh. Any loans paid would be paid back when power prices rose above the £45 per MWh level. This arrangement could be guaranteed for 20 years and could be enshrined in agreements issued by the SG to specific schemes. This would give schemes long term financial confidence that could allow them to raise money from banks and investors. A pilot basis would consist of the scheme being restricted, for an initial proving phase, of no more than 100 MW of capacity.
Dave Toke’s Blog 1st Oct 2017 read more »