Tag Archives: community energy

Is community energy our alternative energy future?


CommunitysolarPlymouthGreen Alliance associate Rebecca Willis reports on the project,
Cultures of Community Energy, which she worked on for the British Academy.

The green fields of Wiltshire have recently become the site of an impressive energy innovation. On the last day of 2015, the Braydon Manor Solar Array was connected to the grid, plugging in 9MW of solar energy, or enough to supply around 2,500 houses.

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Top ten resources on UK renewable energy

1 DEE Solar Energy TreeThese days, renewable technologies not only generate 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity, they also generate plenty of data, giving us the chance to get a clear picture of what’s really going on.

We’ve pulled together our top ten resources as a quick reference guide, including stats, interactive tools and inspiration from the miscellany of initiatives that have taken root across the country. Read more

We should copy France and make energy saving more fun

Photo credit EIE Pays de la LoireThis blog is by Micol Salmeri, policy assistant in the low carbon energy theme at Green Alliance.

France is tackling climate change at the local level by exploiting people’s natural competitiveness. For the past eight years, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), in collaboration with local energy agencies (such as Prioriterre), has been using energy saving competitions to encourage people to create ‘Positive Energy Families’. It has had a big impact, with nearly 30,000 families or teams, in 81 of the 101 French départements (counties), taking part since 2008, saving an average of £160 per household. Read more

Government should support Greater Manchester to lead the next industrial revolution


Lowry bridge Manchester_Flickrcc2.0_Hilverd RekerThis post is by Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South.

Greater Manchester has a proud industrial heritage and there are signs of the next industrial revolution too. Manchester’s Low Carbon Hub is co-ordinating efforts to reduce the city’s carbon emissions to 48 per cent of their 1990 levels, by 2020. Read more

My big manifesto idea: three great ideas for local empowerment

London Bus Streaks Past the Houses of ParliamentWe’ve asked leading thinkers, from politics, business and green groups, to set out their one big manifesto idea for the next parliament – the one they think will make a big impact in creating a greener Britain. We are publishing them through May and June.

With six ideas already under the belt, featured in posts on the 16 May and 20 May, today’s three ideas on a local theme come from independent adviser Rebecca Willis, Guy Newey of Policy Exchange and Simon Roberts of the Centre for Sustainable Energy. Read more

Forget Help to Buy, let’s have Help to Generate

People on hillThis post is by Matthew Parsons, technical director at Scene, a social enterprise, based in London and Edinburgh, focused on growing the community energy sector.

This year, the concept of community or locally owned energy has, to some extent, gone mainstream. Large scale projects such as Neilston, Westmill and Lochcarnan have hit local headlines, and politicians have hit the headlines nationally, expressing effusive support. Read more

When solar panels hit brick walls: what innovation theory tells us about the future of community energy

Electrician checking solar panelsThis post is by Rebecca Willis, an independent researcher, adviser on environment and sustainability and Green Alliance associate.

I don’t envy politicians trying to talk to constituents about climate change. It’s undoubtedly one of the most crucial challenges for modern politics. But, when you’re trying to earn a living and get the kids to school, climate change can seem a remote, theoretical thing. Read more

The government wants a community energy revolution in the UK, but what’s needed for it to happen?

People on hillDuring community energy fortnight, which ended on Sunday, groups around the country showcased impressive projects and ideas. You could have visited a hydro scheme in Stockport, or learned about community heating in Oxfordshire, participated in an energy saving workshop in Dorset, or even taken a big red bus tour of Manchester’s green homes.

It was inspiring stuff. Unfortunately, these types of projects are few and far between. Many other interested and enthusiastic groups around the UK are still struggling to get their ideas off the ground. With the government devising its community energy strategy, there’s now a real opportunity to ensure that the successes are replicated. Read more

My big idea: buy your local wind farm

This is a guest post by Rebecca Willis, a Green Alliance associate and author of Co-operative Renewable Energy: A guide to this growing sector.

It is part of a series on big ideas to reduce the UK’s environmental impact

My big idea is simple. Give people the chance to buy shares in renewable energy developments near them. Whether it’s a wind farm, an Anaerobic Digestion plant or hydro power, there should be an option for anyone living locally to invest in the scheme, and share in the profits.

It would be a small change, but a very significant one, with the benefits felt far and wide. Read more