Whilst ACE is well on its way to achieving its own energy projects, its important still to reflect on, and learn from, those that have gone before. There’s such an incredible range of Community Energy projects now active across the UK and beyond, that we thought it would be worth highlighting a few here:
Wedmore Community Power Co-operative Ltd was set up in 2013 by people living on the Isle of Wedmore in Somerset to enable their community to use solar energy. As well as giving members a return on their investment, we will also plough some of our profits back into the area in the form of community grants.
With funding from our shareholding members, we have installed a 1mW solar photovoltaic plant in two paddocks screened by new hedges, just to the north of Wedmore. It has been generating clean energy since October 2013.
Brixton Energy is a not-for-profit co-operative based in south London. They create cooperatively owned renewable energy projects whose financial revenues stay within the local community. They currently have three projects operational: Brixton Energy Solar 1, 2 and 3
Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) work closely with Communities for Renewables CIC, who are also helping ACE on our journey to establish a Community Energy portfolio in Somerset.
WREN was founded on a very simple premise: each locality can transform energy from an individual cost to a collective asset. In every locality, over £1,000,000/year is spent collectively by every 1,000 people on energy for lighting, heating and transport. It follows that Wadebridge is spending over £13,000,000/year on energy. This money dribbles out of Wadebridge’s (and every other town’s) economy through innumerable individual energy bills, so people do not experience this economic leakage as a collective resource, however much they may complain about the cost.
WREN’s strategy was simply to go back to a future where local energy resources complement central generation and supply. The current centralised arrangements are very good for the few companies that operate them, and reassuring to governments, who tend to find distribution of responsibility unwelcome. But they are not ideal for consumers, the environment, or local economic resilience.
|WRENs subscribing and voting members||1046|
|WREN Solar PV||96 installations – 766 kWp|
|WREN influenced Solar PV||2,3 MW|
|Renewable Heat Installations||57 installations – 1034 kW|
|WREN influenced renewable heat||4 installations – 710 kW|
|Household insulation – CERT funded||145 households|
|Household energy monitors installed||100 homes|
|Electric vehicles to date||10|
|WREN Community Fund offer||£10,000 allocation made to date|
|Introduced the Wren – the Wadebridge Pound||Wr 5,000|
WREN has also:
- Facilitated St Breock wind-farm re-power with REG Windpower, and is managing a £50,000 community fund
- Is managing the £10,000 Treworder Solar Park community fund
- Educational/outreach/fuel poverty activities is schools, energy awareness days, exhibitions, advice
- Opened the WREN Energy Shop in central Wadebridge