BLOG: Can you help catalyse the next wave of locally owned energy projects?
If you are an owner of buildings and land, you can help drive the low carbon transformation of our energy system and benefit while you do so. That roof on your factory, office or car park could host a community energy project – providing you with cheaper, greener energy whilst also directly benefiting your local community and without any capital investment being required.
Imagine thousands of buildings across the UK, all hosting locally owned renewables. Schools, hospitals, retail parks, care homes and churches, working with local social enterprises and cooperatives to ‘anchor’ renewables in their surrounding communities. Community groups selling power generated to the landowner and making a return for community investors, helping provide energy bill savings to the building users and developing community energy funds to support energy efficiency and fuel poverty schemes in their local area
It seems a no-brainer, partly because we know there are plenty of viable sites for decentralised renewables and storage that are not being used. For example, within the NHS alone, 166 Trusts reported plots of surplus land totalling nearly 1,800 hectares in 2018. In addition, an increasing number of corporates and cities have ambitious decarbonisation targets, as well as objectives to deliver more social value to local communities. The community energy movement is maturing fast with the experience of hundreds of proven projects across the UK. And whilst these groups remain subject to a challenging policy environment, innovative new business models and projects are now emerging which mean that even with feed-in-tariffs coming to an end projects can still be viable.
Welcome to PowerPaired
Funded by Friends Provident Foundation and created by Forum for the Future, PowerPaired is a new digital platform being piloted across the UK. With the support of organisations like the Greater London Authority, Oldham Council and Suffolk County Council it has been specifically designed to match local energy groups with asset owners willing to have a conversation about hosting community renewables. Our aim is to reduce the time and cost it takes to identify and secure sites for community energy; whilst demonstrating the financial and social value to a growing number of asset owners.
If you have buildings or surplus land that may be suitable for community renewables Forum for the Future would love to hear from you. No financial or legal commitment is required to participate, just an interest in learning more about community energy and how you might benefit.