The EST report “Power in Numbers” demonstrates the case on practical and economic grounds for deployment of Renewable Energy Technologies at a larger than household scale. The recent “Gold rush” for Feed in Tariffs on Solar PV schemes has seen Herefordshire install significant amounts of this technology at a household level; but for the well off rural dwellers who benefit from this it represents only a small portion of their total energy use.
By acting at a community level to build projects which provide orders of magnitude more primary energy, participants are helping to ensure energy supplies at affordable levels for their less fortunate neighbours as well as contributing to the de-carbonisation of national energy systems. A multiplier benefit is derived from the repatriation of savings wealth to invest locally; creating additional wealth and jobs in the county. Not everyone has a suitable property for household micro generation, but anyone with a few hundred pounds can invest in a community project.
For some outstanding examples of the power of community action for co-operative energy supplies look at these projects.
Research by J. Rogers in Cumbria showed high levels of awareness of the connection between local renewable energy projects and reducing global impacts.
She also found that even a small group of people starting a project will soon be joined by many others wanting to engage as stakeholders and participants. The effort required is no greater than building a village hall, and the core skills are widely available within most communities.