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Community Energy – A Chance to Hit our Carbon Target?

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In Wales, the public sector has a target to reach net-zero carbon by 2030, while the Welsh Government has set a local ownership target of 1GW by the same year. Community Energy Wales believe it might just have the answer to this problem.

Business News Wales chatted with Robert Proctor, Business Development Manager for Community Energy Wales.

You can listen to the interview below.

Robert said:

“The benefits of [community energy] is an opportunity for communities to actually play an active part in tackling the climate crisis and doing something about it at a community level.”

Established in 2012, Community Energy Wales is a membership organization that supports various energy projects around the country, all of which are run by local communities. The organization is encouraging various public sector bodies to buy and invest in energy which has been generated locally.

Proctor said that the public sector in Wales is committed to buying 100 per cent renewable energy with Community Energy Wales encouraging it to buy community-generated energy. He believes that in doing so, it would create more jobs that would generate income for communities and stimulate the small-scale renewable market in Wales.

According to their website, Community Energy Wales will support groups to develop projects by:

  • providing a platform whereby community energy groups can pool their experience and learn from each other, we will accelerate the pace of development.
  • gathering evidence about where the stumbling blocks that are delaying or preventing schemes lie – be this access to the right kind of funding at the right time, planning and licensing issues or grid connectivity
  • campaigning on behalf of the sector and influence the formation of energy policy in Wales in support of delivering clear community energy targets

But why should the public sector buy renewable energy directly from Welsh communities?

Robert said:

“It allows democratic control for that community of their energy assets so they can make decisions about who they use to do the work or what they do with the profits or where they sell their energy, but most importantly it is about keeping money in the local economy and using it to support their aims and ambitions.”

Community Energy Wales strongly believe that they can help Wales achieve its 2030 carbon target. Whether this is true, remains to be seen.