Generating and using energy locally makes a lot of sense. It avoids transmission loses and can enable direct ownership and control by local users and/or community groups. The UK Coalition Government’s Community Energy Strategy in 2014, as updated in 2015, aimed to aid the growth of community energy, with, in 2016, the Urban Community Energy Fund offering £200,000 in grants and £1m in loans, while community energy groups were offered a tax advantaged under Social Investment Tax Relief. However, take up has been hit by wider policy changes, and registrations in 2016 fell to just 10. That doesn’t mean there’s any lack of grass root activity. ‘Thousands of community groups across the UK are developing practical, positive examples of the zero carbon transition, ranging from waste food cafés to community energy schemes. While many of these community-scale projects are small, they empower and connect people, help expand the political choices available, give people a sense of agency and help normalise sustainable behaviours. The role of intermediary organisations that connect and support grassroots projects is very important in helping to scale up and replicate ideas’. So says the Centre for Alternative Technology in it latest update on achieving ‘Zero Carbon Britain’.
Dave Elliott 1st Sept 2017 read more »