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Public shows renewables interest ahead of Community Energy Strategy unveiling



Campaign group 10:10 is calling on the government to match public enthusiasm for local renewable energy projects ahead of the publication of the Community Energy Strategy next week.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) called for evidence from community energy groups and intermediaries in the summer last year. The consultation looked at the benefits, barriers and innovative approaches of community energy. The strategy will be published on January 27.

The successful Solar Schools campaign from 10:10 shows how communities want to take control of their energy by generating their own clean power. Since launching in 2011, 50 schools have participated in the project and have collectively raised over £315,000 for solar panels through online and community fundraising activities.

Solar Schools campaign manager Amy Cameron, who created the programme, said, “With our solar schools campaign we’ve already shown what’s possible when communities put their minds to starting their own energy project.

“The benefits go way beyond carbon cutting and cost savings – our experience shows community energy schemes have the power to reinvigorate communities and really bring them together.”

She added that the enthusiasm from communities showed that the government “needs to catch up” and that “the UK’s clean energy future is far too important to be left in the hands of a few big energy companies”.

A community renewables scheme can be developed by a non-profit distributing body or a profit-distributing body which is a social enterprise benefitting its local community. The term can also refer to joint ventures between community groups and commercial companies.

Similar projects to the 10:10 Solar Schools developments have been running across the country, including the Staffordshire Sunny Schools project which aims to install solar panels on 25 buildings across the county. The project estimates that investors will see returns of around 6% per year.

Further reading:

Let’s make our communities sustainable to improve people’s wellbeing

Existing city infrastructure can be ‘reprogrammed’

Our future cities will have to be smarter and more resilient

Four Staffordshire schools set to benefit from solar co-op project

Solar panels set for installation as co-operative hits funding threshold