Jonathan Werran 11 September 2013

Councils could energise renewables revolution, think tank claims

Councils could help usher in a revolution in the country’s renewable energy supply if they showed leadership and gave financial backing to community-led schemes, a think tank has argued.

A ResPublica study launched by energy minister Greg Barker yesterday suggests the country is lagging behind continental peers such as Germany, where nearly half (46%) of all renewables’ generated energy comes from community schemes.

In contrast, energy from this source is a paltry 0.3% in the UK, but is forecast to increase nine-fold by 2020 based on current trends

But with local authority funding and leadership, underpinned by a robust national framework, councils could help oversee massive growth in the sector, sufficient to deliver one fifth of total renewable energy capacity by 2020, the authors claim.

However, the successful growth of community energy would depend on a greater spirit of flexibility and a more positive approach from councils, the paper argues.

Wind farm A new report is urging councils to drive forward community energy schemes.

It recommends local government should be encouraged to act as intermediaries and make use of the Localism Act to both invest and get a financial return from community schemes. It urges councils to broker community energy deals with housing associations, businesses and voluntary organisations such as churches.

Greg Barker minister for energy and climate change, said: ‘The Coalition is committed to helping hard pressed consumers with the rising cost of living.

‘When it comes to energy bills, this includes supporting communities to take more control over local generation projects, while also empowering them to reduce their energy demand, tackle local fuel poverty, and get the best deal on their energy supply,’ Mr Barked said.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK said the report highlights the exciting prospect of communities working more closely with local wind farm developers, local businesses and local authorities on jointly-owned projects.

‘Using this socially and economically-inclusive model, we have an opportunity to redefine the relationship between communities and developers to unlock a significant growth in community energy, particularly in onshore wind.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Payroll Specialist

Essex County Council
Up to £34805 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefits Pension
Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Payroll & People Advisor - Permanent

Essex County Council
Up to £27338 per annum + + 25 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pension
Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Payroll & People Advisor - 12-month Fixed Term Contract

Essex County Council
Up to £27338 per annum + + 25 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pension
Payroll & People Advisor - 12-month Fixed Term Contract Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Waste Manager

Isle of Wight Council
£42,923 to £46,402 per annum
We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated individual County Hall, Newport / Agile
Recuriter: Isle of Wight Council

Engineer (Client Team)

Manchester City Council
£35,336 to £39,571 (Bar at £38,553) per annum 
The post holder will be responsible for supporting the Client Team Manager Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.