The guidance has been written by RegenSW, a renewable energy consultancy based in Exeter in the South West of England. It calls for partnerships between communities and wind energy developers and focuses on how community benef it funds can be used effectively.
The guidance follows the commitment by the wind industry earlier this year to provide packages of £5000 per MW per year to communities located near wind energy schemes over 5MW in size. It gives examples of different ways in which funds and other investments by developers have been used by local communities to fund local projects and programmes, such as the provision of care services to the development of mountain bike trails. DECC is expected to grant a community ‘right to invest’ in new renewable energy projects which will include solar PV schemes.
“We are delighted that more communities are getting involved with sustainable energy, and in particular onshore wind projects – one of the most efficient and cost effective renewables technologies available” said Jodie Giles, communities project manager at RegenSW. “If communities are looking for help to navigate the renewables landscape or have been approached by a developer, I would encourage them to sign up to our free network at www.regensw.co.uk/communities where I can help them through the process and put them in touch with other communities facing similar issues.”
Examples of how communities utilise the benefits from wind energy community schemes will shortly be recorded on DECC’s new community benefits register for England, which RegenSW is currently working on with DECC and RenewableUK. The online register is expected to go live later this autumn.