Community Power is the way forward shows CES
The 2014 Community Energy Scotland conference held in Edinburgh last November reiterated that point very strongly.
Existing grid constraints unlikely to be resolved quickly means that today more than ever, community energy makes sense. In the context of Scotland’s extensive fuel poverty which is particularly acute in the islands, ‘community energy can directly impact on high fuel costs’ said John MacDonald of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, as he outlined plans to set up the first Hebridean Energy company supplier.
One particularly inspiring story was told by Alan Hobbett about a group of housing associations in the Scottish Borders addressing fuel poverty by getting into power generation themselves.
Orkney again showed how they lead the way in community led smart demand side management. ‘We want to use the curtailment system to show that we can bring to the grid 500 kW that will benefit communities,’ said speaker Brian Clegg from Hoy.
Andy Oliver from Gigha Green Power also presented the innovative Vanadium Redox Flow battery storage system which will be operative in June 2015. (see islands going green)
It was also inspiring to see solidarity with the developing world at work with the presentation of the CES work in Malawi.
CES Support for local energy economy projects
Nicholas Gubbins, Chief Executive at Community Energy Scotland has pledged his organisation to supporting more local energy economy projects in 2015.
Nicholas Gubbins said ‘Local Energy Economies are about taking local responsibility for energy demand and energy generation, and then taking steps to match the local needs with local energy production opportunities. In 2015 more communities will want to own their own heat or power generation plants. It is about more than technology. People want to take more local control of their own energy issues and do what is right for their local economy and their precious environments.’
The charity Community Energy Scotland has led the movement for more local ownership and benefit from renewable energy for more than ten years. ‘The Local Energy Economy concept encompasses wise use of energy as well as renewable production. Joining up the thinking around energy efficiency and tackling the high cost of heat for many householders is driving our thinking,’ added Nicholas.
Community Power is about positive action
Community energy activists are not about complaining but rather positive action. They can see the successes of the early community energy projects and want to take a further step, generating the power and heat their communities need in the way their communities want.
See www.communityenergyscotland.org.uk for the 2014 conference papers and the help CES can deliver to communities interested in developing their own energy solutions.