A high-profile alliance of charities, co-operatives and organisations has published a manifesto to help advance community-owned renewable energy in the UK.
Energy secretary Ed Davey is set to meet with the group, which is led by The Co-operative and Forum for the Future, to discuss the policies needed to be implemented in order to realise a “community energy revolution”.
A Co-operative poll, conducted by ICM, recently revealed that the majority of people – 68% – would support community-based clean energy projects, compared to just 7% who said they wouldn’t. The overwhelming uptake of such local renewable energy developments as Westmill Wind and Solar Co-operatives and Drumlin Wind Energy prove that community renewables work and are indeed extremely popular.
“The majority of people in the UK want to see a massive increase in renewable energy; however, there is a powerful minority set against this”, said Paul Monaghan, head of socials at The Co-operative.
“Community-owned renewables offer a brilliant way to break this log jam, and this manifesto sets out what needs to happen in order for this to happen.
“Our towns, villages and districts are full of hundreds of groups all chomping at the bit to do their bit to generate and save energy locally and fight climate change.”
The manifesto’s release coincides with National Ethical Investment Week – an annual event to promote ethical investment. And buying shares in local clean energy is just one of a number of investments of this kind – those that reap social, environmental, economic and financial benefits for developers, communities and investors.
The organisations behind the manifesto have 12m members between them. Along with The Co-operative and Forum for the Future, the list of supporters includes the National Trust, the Church of England and The National Federation of Women’s Institutes.
“We know that when communities secure a stake in energy projects they are much more reassured that their own beautiful and fragile local landscapes and villages can embrace the proposals”, said Patrick Begg, rural enterprise Director at the National Trust.
“Community energy can help empower local people to take control of their own energy futures and in a style that maintains and even enhances what makes local places special and cherished.”
The manifesto address the UK’s targets for community energy, as well as government’s role in backing such projects and access to finance through such schemes as the Green Investment Bank, which yesterday received state aid approval from the European Commission.