A book looking at the role of community renewable energy projects in the UK. It examines the history of community renewable projects and the different types of project that have been successful and unsuccessful.
Mongoose Energy has claimed to have completed the UK’s “largest ever” community energy deal by financing a 15MW solar-plus-storage project. The community energy specialist has completed the financing of Anesco’s Drayton Manor solar farm, based near Stratford-Upon-Avon, which comprises three separate arrays backed by revenue streams including feed-in tariffs and ROCs. All three arrays have had battery systems retrofitted. Two 1MVA/1.2MWh batteries and one 800kVa/1.1MWh battery have been installed by Anesco to complement the solar generation. Mongoose said the new financing deal would deliver nearly £5 million in local community benefits over its 20-year lifetime. The new deal takes Mongoose Energy’s solar portfolio to 80MW, and the supplier’s chief executive Mark Kenber insisted community energy remained “alive and kicking” in the UK.
June and July saw Community Energy Fortnight celebrate its fifth year. The annual event, supported by Co-operate Energy and The Climate Coalition, brings together different groups who are independently generating renewable energy. A total of 77 separate events were held up and down the country, projects which included the use of clean technologies such as solar, hydro, wind and biomass heat, all of which developed using community-serviced finance. The latest survey of England, Wales and Northern Ireland by Community Energy England identified 269 community activities from 222 organisations, 191 of which were focused on generating heat or electricity. The survey found 121MW of electricity generating infrastructure has been installed by community groups since 1997, generating 265 GWh of electricity. Community energy is now a clear contributor to the UK’s power demand, with benefits shared across the spectrum. It mobilises residents to reap the growing solar economic and environmental benefits at a local level. A proportion of the profits made are redistributed back into the community to fund local causes, projects and charities.
A new hydroelectric scheme proposed for the River Weaver in Cheshire has smashed expectations and met its £635,000 fund-raising target in just over 48 hours. Developers Hydrosense Renewables and Triodos Bank, which is running the scheme’s corporate finance, announced yesterday that the crowdfunding round raised the cash in just 51 hours.
Repowering London plans to create 40 energy gardens on the Overground network by October this year. The gardens will grow food and flowers, host bees and birds and clean the air on the platforms, where particulate matter from breaking trains is hazardous for humans to breathe. The next step is to raise money to instal solar panels on the roof of an overpass at Highbury & Islington station. The panels will generate money from the feed-in tariff that energy suppliers pay to those putting energy into the system. The plan is to distribute the tariff revenue across the Energy Garden group to fund a volunteer coordinator at each station. TfL did not respond to requests for comment.
More than 7,400 cities and local councils have signed up to a ‘Global Covenant of Mayors’ to fight climate change, galvanised by Donald Trump’s dismissal of scientists’ concerns for the future. “What President Trump has done is he has – unintentionally as he does with so many things – organised and focussed people who have been doing a number of good things in hundreds of different places. “Now mayors are communicating and working in a fashion that I have not seen during my seven years in office. Mr Reed said Atlanta had committed to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035, among a raft of other measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And he said, regardless of Mr Trump’s policies, American cities had the power to meet the carbon targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, which was ratified by Barack Obama.
Bristol Energy Cooperative is seeking to crowdfund more than £1 million which will help to pay for its maiden battery storage investment. Earlier this week the community energy group announced its intention to raise a total of £1.15 million, the proceeds of which will help repay previous loans and invest in a Tesla Powerpack installation planned for a community housing scheme in Winchester. The bulk of the planned raising will however go towards the repayment of short-term loans from Close Brothers and Bristol City Council which it used to complete solar PV projects prior to reductions in the feed-in tariff.
What is expected to be Europe’s largest community battery is set to be installed at an innovative regeneration scheme in Nottingham, with a 2MWh Tesla battery to be deployed in September as part of a housing scheme alongside community solar. The £100 million Trent Basin project is a new housing development built at the site of an inland dock previously derelict for around two decades. It is expected to deliver 500 homes over five phases with 375kW of rooftop and ground mounted solar and the Tesla battery to be installed by EvoEnergy. In an innovative use of the solar farm, planning permission has been granted on the basis that the site shall be cleared by 28 February 2020. By this time, the panels from the ground mounted installation will be removed and installed on new homes built as part of the development.
New PCS pamphlet Just Transition and Energy Democracy: a civil service trade union perspective. We urgently need to transition to a zero carbon economy but this doesn’t have to come at a price for workers and communities This new pamphlet makes the case for a just transition and energy democracy from the perspective of a civil service trade union, based on public ownership and democratic control of energy that provides an opportunity to re-vision and rebuild our public services for people not profit. Moving motion A41 calling on PCS conference to formally adopt and widely promote the pamphlet, PCS NEC member Clara Paillard said that climate change is not about science or technology, but how we organise as a society. Therefore as a union we need to start seeing climate as part of our industrial agenda and ensuring working class people do not pay for the climate crisis. PCS is developing a programme to distribute the pamphlet across the union, including holding meetings with reps and members to take forward its demands. The Union’s ten demands include: A national plan to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050; Energy democracy based on the public ownership and democratic control of energy; Direct government intervention to create a National Climate Service and related bodies as articulated in the One Million Climate Jobs campaign.
Solarplicity has claimed its new solar initiative could save social housing tenants £200 million a year if they sign up to free LEDs, a smart meter and having solar PV installed where viable. Solar Power Portal reported earlier this month that the company was preparing a low-subsidy residential solar model aimed at social housing, claiming individual tenants could save £240 a year on average on their energy bills. In today’s formal launch, Solarplicity explained that having secured funding from European investor Maas Capital, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO Bank, it will partner with social housing providers to create a Community Energy Scheme providing the energy saving solutions. In addition, the company will offer ‘simply lower energy bills’ using a 100% renewable energy tariff following its acquisition of independent supply firm Lo CO2 Energy last month. Only one rate will be applied, with no standard charges irrespective of the payment method used. The initiative is the result of a detailed procurement process between Solarplicity and Alliance Homes, a social housing provider active in procurement activities for the social sector. The framework agreement enables more than 40 social landlords and 500,000 households to participate. It is expected that the scheme will reach 50,000 households in the next twelve months and 800,000 homes within five years, at which stage these tenants are forecast to save up to £200 million a year through the scheme.