MEDIA RELEASE

Community Energy Network launched as Government call for views on how communities can benefit from wind farms

For immediate release - 21 September 2012

A new Community Energy Group Network is being launched on 24 September by Regen SW to give community energy groups in the south west a stronger voice. The launch comes as the Department for Energy and Climate Change announces a consultation into how communities that host onshore wind farms can secure greater financial, social and environmental benefits from schemes.

Regen SW, the independent renewable energy centre of expertise, is working with government and international partners to develop and coordinate the new network to enable active community energy groups to respond to the consultation and work together.

The network is formally being launched on 24 September 2012 as part of an international day of events supported by the EU Interreg IVb funded Academy of Champions for Energy (www.aceforenergy.eu).

A key first action will be responding to the consultation which is calling for views on:

  • Barriers to community engagement and how to address these;
  • How wind farms could deliver wider environmental and social benefits to communities;
  • Best practice in local consultation by developers;
  • Ways to maximise participation by local businesses in the economic supply chain for wind projects; and
  • Innovative ways to reward host communities, such as offsetting electricity bills.

Merlin Hyman, Regen SW Chief Executive, said “Community energy groups are springing up across the south west to generate secure, sustainable energy and create local revenue streams to put back in the the community. Regen SW’s new Community Energy Group Network will bring these groups together to have a stronger voice with government and to share lessons in what works.”

Jonathan Johns, chairman of Communities for Renewables CIC, a new social enterprise set up to provide the finance and expertise to community groups said “A community led business model will help keep more of the profits from renewables in the south west to benefit local communities, whilst paying a fair rent to landowners: thereby encouraging positive engagement in the planning process.”

The first network event will be a meeting in October between Community Energy Groups and government officials to enable community energy groups to share their views on the current community benefit consultation.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

For further information
Contact Merlin Hyman, Regen SW chief executive, on 01392 494 399.

About Regen SW
Regen SW is a not for profit company working to enable business, local authorities and other organisations to deliver renewable energy and energy efficiency and build a prosperous low-carbon economy in the south west of England. www.regensw.co.uk

About Communities for Renewables
Communities for Renewables CIC is a community interest company established by Green Trust Wind CIC and Regen SW. For more details see www.communities4renewables.co.uk

About Green Trust Wind CIC
Green Trust is a new kind of wind power company that help communities build large-scale wind power projects that make a meaningful contribution to their energy and financial needs. Their focus is the South West, where they are based. Green Trust is a not for profit community interest company (CIC). www.greentrustwind.co.uk

About the Academy of Champions for Energy (Ace)
Ace is an EU Interreg IVb funded project to support an enhanced level of innovation and competitiveness across North West Europe by increasing the combined capabilities of sustainable energy champion organisations. www.aceforenergy.eu