Simon Jonathan Naish Rayson says:
Are Renewable Energy Co-operatives the Way Forward?

Category: Renewable Energy, Solar Energy
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s interesting to see that one oft raised objection to commercial and larger scale Renewable Energy installations is one concerning profit. Perhaps understandably some find it to be a problem that wealthy and/or distant investors are making large profits from a Renewable Energy installation, though I must say that particular problem or issue had not occurred to me, but perhaps there is a way of addressing this problem by sharing the profits locally? For instance on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border there is a Solar Power installation which is seeking investors to join a Co-operative, a Co-operative that will reap the profits as well as the benefits of supporting clean and renewable energy.

There’s an interesting article about the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire Solar Power project on the Low Impact website here: http://www.lowimpact.org/blog/2012/Jul/you-can-be-part-owner-of-a-solar-power-plant.htm

Perhaps such a method of bringing Renewable Energy to an area might make it more palatable by being far more inclusive – and of course by demonstrating that just because Renewable Energy makes a profit that does not make the energy it produces somehow less clean.

One thing that often crops up when discussing Renewables is how the larger scale installations seem to be more readily accepted in the countries of, say, Northern Europe than they are here in the UK. Perhaps one reason for that acceptance is that in those countries people are used to having smaller conventionally fuelled Power Stations in their neighbourhoods and towns – often these Power Stations providing piped hot water as well as electricity. Here in the UK we are used to (& generally expect) our power generation to be large scale and remote from where most of us live – perhaps then accepting local larger scale Renewable Energy plants (Solar, Wind, etc) for us in the UK is a bit more challenging than it is for our continental neighbours used, as I say, to having local coal or gas fuelled Power Stations? Could be that this extra level of unfamiliarity might be one further reason for the oft expressed reluctance to embrace Renewable Energy, it being a steeper learning curve, so to speak?

Let us know your thoughts!

2Comments | Post your own comment

  • CheaperGasEnergy comments:
    "I suppose many people may have not been properly educated on how they can use renewable energy. Some people that have had solar panels installed are making some money back. It really can be a good way to make money and save on energy bills. "
    August 28, 2012 a 4:04 pm

  • Paul McIntosh comments:
    "yes, yes, yes!
    Why is it those on the continent are more comftorble with sharing the wealth and in turn taking collective responsability. Perhaps the Germans can help (below is taken from the Low Carbon Communities Network Newsletter) German-British Parliamentary initiative in sharing lessons in Community Energy The success of Germany’s 600-plus locally accountable co-operatives in green energy carries inspiration, plus important lessons, for us here in the UK. In this International Year of Co-operatives, co-operatives now provide 13 per cent of Germany’s electricity, itself a market double the size of ours. Central to Germany’s success in energy co-operatives is wide support across the entire political spectrum for community energy, in national and in local politics, as well as in civil administration. LCCN committee member Alban Thurston is launching a freelance Parliamentary initiative, aiming to link pro-renewables Conservative parliamentarians in the Bundestag with their less numerous brothers & sisters on Conservative benches at Westminster. The goal would be a ‘trickle down’, strengthening the will of the minority of pro-renewables British Conservative MPs to convince the vocal opponents within their own party, through close experience of the electoral and social success achieved by the equivalents in Germany. Launched only as Parliament rose for the summer, the initiative, dubbed ‘Projekt Sonnenschein’ has attracted interest from leading pro-renewables Conservatives such as Tim Yeo, Zac Goldsmith, and Martin Vickers. Alban is working with the Bundestag office of Josef Goeppel, spokesman on energy collectives in Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU party. One or more briefings in Westminster are planned in October, where Goeppel will spell out to British Conservatives how right-of-centre politicians should be embracing in their planning, financing and civil policies the benefits of democratised, locally accountable energy. Drawing on his 10 year advocacy of energy co-operatives, Goeppel recently sent the UK think tank ResPublica his message of support for democratised energy in the UK. In it, he said: “The most successful way of letting many people participate in energy production is through community energy co-operatives. They allow the broader public to share in the profits of energy production…In addition they foster responsible energy consumption”. "

    August 24, 2012 a 2:39 pm

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