Community Energy Chief Nicholas Gubbins states that backing community energy projects is more valuable than ever in today’s uncertain world and calls for government to ease capital funding and consent issues to favour community-based renewable energy projects, helping shield Europe from energy blackmail.
The European Union has renewed efforts to ensure Russia cannot hold the eastern member states to ransom by threatening their gas supplies. In the short term, EU plans include looking to replace Russian gas with Liquified Natural Gas brought to Europe by sea in large tankers – effectively reversing the current flow of gas in the pipelines within mainland Europe.
The EU has long focussed on energy security, with programmes and polices to ensure that member states are less dependent on energy imports from outwith the EU and populations and businesses become more energy efficient. They may be far away but these developments have an impact here in Scotland, where it is becoming even more crucial to make clever use of the energy generation resources we have, and how we use them.
“If you generate energy locally you don’t have to worry about being able to buy it from anyone else, or if you can afford the price they are charging.”
“The new concept of ‘Local Energy Economies’ generating renewable energy and then using clever technology are an irresistible proposition. Linking local generation with local energy need will reduce dependence, and strengthen our communities, regions and the whole UK.”
Nicholas commented that the energy security issues were driving a fresh impetus for community-up schemes.
“For some people, local energy security can mean having enough dry logs to see them through the winter. For regions or businesses it is more likely to mean that they can be sure that the community has sufficient energy available to meet the current needs of commerce and domestic consumers. Nationally, governments want to minimise their vulnerability to international markets and the political risks of conflict or the need for foreign exchange. No one wants the lights to go off or the heating to stop. Community energy projects can help shield the EU from energy blackmail.
“Local Energy Economies are the foundation level for this new thinking. Community groups and local cooperatives need the full assistance of government policy to increase man the generation capacity in local ownership and control.”
“‘We can show community energy works well on so many levels. Community energy is more valuable than it has ever been. We need government to act to ease funding and consent issues for community schemes.”