Sector welcomes community ownership policy

Industry leaders have unanimously backed government plans to boost community ownership of renewable energy projects.

The key objective of the Community Energy Strategy, unveiled earlier this week, is to empower individuals to take greater control over their energy bills by both reducing consumption and increasing amounts of self generation.

The renewables sector has been asked to help faciliate this via increased community ownership and a taskforce will report concrete proposals to climate change minister Greg Barker in the spring.

The message from trade bodies is that renewable energy is the best way to democratise energy generation and release the public from a centralised industry dominated by just six energy suppliers.

deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: “We look forward to working with government, communities and our members on addressing some of the barriers that currently exist to the development of further community ownership.

“With wind power already enjoying massive levels of popularity with communities around the country, the industry is eager to do what it can help find ways of maximising local participation in the future energy supply.”

STA head of external affairs Leonie Greene said: “The public are very concerned by the lack of competition in our energy markets and poll after poll shows they back renewable energy. So it’s great to see the UK government recognise the vast potential for everyday communities to directly own renewable energy and by doing so, to break open our consolidated electricity sector. International experience shows it is bottom-up investment by everyday people and organisations that can really drive renewables. At the same time this gives people real ownership of the energy they depend on, and increases support for local schemes.”

REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: “We are delighted that the government is really serious about helping ordinary people become active participants in the energy economy.

“We are looking forward to starting this dialogue with the community energy sector. We are confident that greater community engagement and investment in commercial project development will accelerate renewables deployment and the benefits that brings to society – mitigating climate risks, reducing dependence on energy imports and creating jobs in the green economy.