A Community Energy Scheme?
Is it time for a Community Energy Scheme?
The coverage of COP26 and the need to replace fossil fuel based energy generation, coupled with the potential insecurity and dramatic cost rise of our energy supply is a source of concern. We are reaching for our warm sweaters, turning down the thermostat, not leaving the TV on standby etc etc. But is it time to consider an increasingly popular option? Is it time for a Community Energy Scheme for Wenvoe?
What is a Community Energy Scheme? In essence Community Energy Schemes are about community led, and importantly community controlled, renewable energy production, energy efficiency schemes or energy purchase schemes. They can be wholly community owned or with commercial or public sector partners or can act as a trusted intermediary to ensure community interests are considered by commercial generators. The movement is growing in Wales which has more Community Energy schemes per head of population than other parts of the UK. Some of them have been around for over 20 years and have learnt some of the tricks of the trade the hard way but all are willing to share their experiences in order to advance the sector. The sector is supported by Community Energy Wales (CEW) and a look at its map of members will show you wind, solar and hydro generation schemes alongside insulation schemes, provision of charging points, a biomass project that heats a community swimming pool and plans for schemes using heat pumps.
How are they funded? Largely they are run as businesses with a variety of different models; co-operatives, community interest organisations, Ltd companies etc. Investors get a reasonable return on their money but no share of the profit which is used for community benefit and often applied to other environmentally friendly or energy efficiency projects. In common with charities, Directors are usually volunteers. Community members are able to purchase energy at a reliable and often lower price
What other benefits are there? In its State of the Sector 2021 report published earlier this year CEW cites the following benefits:-
- A major practical contribution towards achieving zero carbon emissions
- Involved, energy aware community members are ready to make the behaviour changes necessary to combat climate change
- New jobs and local investment
- Other community driven projects utilising the surpluses that would normally go to shareholders
So what might a scheme for Wenvoe look like? Council buildings and many more houses with solar panels or heat pumps; a way of capturing hydro energy from the water that pours down from the woodland when it rains; a Wind turbine up on the hill… who knows, the community decides based on practical feasibility.
One thing is certain however, the magic ingredient of any successful scheme is a handful of people who are prepared to give some time to get things going. If you are one of those people, let’s make it happen, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent Forum Activity
We are still pursuing the monitoring of air pollution in the village and encouraging drivers not to leave engines idling.
We submitted our response to the WG 20mph zones scheme. This is due for implementation in 2023 and there will be further consultation about local issues.
We attended a Road Safety meeting hosted by Jane Hutt SM and attended by other rural Vale communities, Vale of Glamorgan officers and Councillors, South Wales Police and Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change. Other communities shared proven examples of schemes that improve safety, reduce pollution and encouraging active travel.
We have an exploratory meeting with Community Energy Wales planned and a request from the Vale officer in charge of Project Zero to meet with us for an update..
An information pack to welcome newcomers to the village is nearly ready which includes the list of local providers which can be found on our Blog site.
We will be responding to the Vale of Glamorgan consultation on plans to improve the play area at the Grange. You can respond too. blog https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/ .
New members welcome, meetings on Zoom 2nd Thursday each month 7pm. Comment or Contact us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 twitter @ForumGwenfo or e-mail us on email@example.com.