Report proves extra value from community renewables
A new Scottish study has demonstrated the added value of community energy projects to local economies, and the extra financial benefits which follow when power is owned, managed and ideally used, locally.
A report commissioned by Community Energy Scotland entitled ‘Measuring the Local Economic Impact of Community-Owned Energy Projects’ has been released. The whole text of the report is available on the Community Energy Scotland website (link below).
The document was compiled from evidence gathered by the James Hutton Institute working in partnership with Gilmorton Rural Development. They looked in depth at the costs and benefits associated with the pre-development, construction and operation of community energy projects. The study was supported by the EU’s Northern Periphery Programme as part of CES’s contribution to the Social Enterprise in Community Renewable Energy initiative (http://www.secre.eu/).
Felix Wight, Head of Development at Community Energy Scotland said ‘The report specifically considers the benefits of ownership by local communities. It contrasts different financial models around setting up and running renewable energy projects, as well as demonstrating how the benefits to local economies can be maximised.’
Felix added ‘It is very apparent from this research into our Scottish experience that the most valuable projects so far are those which can maximise local content through community involvement and ownership. We are now actively working towards the implementation of the forward looking recommendations of this study which suggest that maximising local use of power produced, and sourcing lower cost finance from local investors, can potentially double the lifetime value of these projects. Local generation for local use is a clear winner as it can maximise output in grid constrained areas whilst boosting income from the sale of generated energy - in this sense, it’s a double whammy which the report shows is the ideal model going forward.’
Felix concluded ‘There is even a benefit from the local management of the ongoing generation, which on Tiree, for example, continues to provide an income. This report shows the significance of the multiplier effect of local control, local generation and local use from community energy projects.’
More about the Northern Periphery Programme at this link http://www.northernperiphery.eu/en/home/
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