The UK Government Minister heard from Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Operations Eric Dodd who provided some background on the numerous community-owned renewable energy schemes which the charity has assisted in the last 10 years.
Dodd said: “Communities across Scotland are benefitting every day from these projects and the income they generate. As an example, the latest large scale community-owned turbines to go live have been on Barra, Lewis and Aberdeenshire, where Community Energy Scotland has supported local communities to own their own 900kW turbines, generating income to support their communities’ economy.’
“We spoke to Alistair Carmichael about the UK’s policies on community energy. We welcome the recent National Community Energy Strategy developed in Westminster, but emphasised the importance of getting its implementation right.’
“We need to ensure that Scottish Community Schemes- owned by charities and community companies limited by guarantee qualify – automatically as community schemes. A stable Feed in Tariff for community schemes is the only way to ensure another wave of community projects goes ahead.’
Community Energy Scotland staff also took the Minister on a visit to the Dingwall Livestock Mart – which is an example of a local energy project. A wind turbine and solar photovoltaic panels generate power which is used on site, with any excess exported. When demand on site exceeds local generation, power is imported from the grid.
Carmichael commented: “Our recently launched Community Energy Strategy underlines the UK Government’s belief that community-led action gives people the power to bring down bills and encourage competition within the energy market.”