Academics call for better support for community renewable projects

The Government needs to do more to boost community-owned renewable energy projects in the UK, a new study claims. Initiatives such as community renewables could make a huge difference in […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The Government needs to do more to boost community-owned renewable energy projects in the UK, a new study claims.

Initiatives such as community renewables could make a huge difference in tackling climate change and boosting the nation’s energy security, the report from the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggests.

Although the UK Government has launched a new community energy strategy to help local-scale schemes get off the ground, researchers believe better policy support is still needed to boost grass-roots development.

They found there is a “great deal of community enthusiasm” for small-scale innovative projects however the resources available “are not always enough to really help them flourish”.

Dr Gill Seyfang, Lead Researcher at the UEA’s school of Environmental Sciences said: “The combined pressure of global climate change and threats to energy security mean that we will have to think more radically about sustainable energy.

“What is really needed is flexible and tailored policy support at all levels. While technical advice is available through handbooks and toolkits, there are some really critical support needs in particular – from decision making help to financial models and emotional stamina to keep going in challenging times.”

The Government however claims it is “determined to unleash the potential of community energy”, with a DECC spokesperson adding: “We want bring more communities together to help them save money.”