Our energy system is changing, and the public are keen for more local involvement and increased opportunities for practical action on climate change. This is all part of a wider trend towards “distributed energy” – a move away from the old model of large coal and gas-burning power stations that send electricity to us via centralised transmission networks – to a system dominated by smaller-scale low carbon generators.
For a few years from 2010 the community sector briefly grew rapidly. Then, from 2015, government policy changes and funding cuts resulted in a steep decline in new schemes. Now, in 2020, the falling costs of renewables, improvements in battery storage and the prospect of selling electricity locally are giving new life to community energy projects. The animation below from Power for People illustrates the huge potential of clean community energy that would be unlocked if the right for communities to purchase locally generated power became law.