Renewable energy at a community level

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Community Energy Network

The Community Energy Network’s aim is to provide community groups with the opportunity to learn from others who have developed energy projects and to share ideas and expertise.

The Network has hosted events providing communities with up-to-date energy information and has organised visits to exemplar projects.  These visits illustrate best practice and enable the communities involved to meet and swap information and skills.

Amongst those visited were Ecodyfi in Machynlleth, who have established community wind, solar and water schemes, and Yerbeston Gate Church who used sustainable methods for the building conversion and installed a ground source heat pump.

‘Energy Savers’ project

Energy Savers was developed from PLANED Community Visioning as a pilot and progressed to a Pembrokeshire-wide project.

The ‘Plugging the Leaks’ process brought the Maenclochog, Mynachlog Ddu, Llys-y-fran and New Moat communities together to work together and develop an area perspective on how to improve the local economy, looking at ways of keeping money circulating longer within the area and identifying opportunities for maximising the economic potential of existing resources and activities. Saving and generating energy was identified as a possible solution.

An introductory explanatory brochure plus a ‘Home Efficiency Check’ form was then distributed to all households, businesses, farms and community groups in the county. Energy Awareness Raising Events took place throughout the project promoting the free energy audits offered. These events also introduced individuals and community groups to the benefits of energy saving and renewable energy and how they could get involved.  Several community energy groups were formed as a result who have gone on to develop Community Energy Projects.

Community energy projects

Example: Renewable energy feasibility studies

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy (CARE) (http://cwmarian.org.uk) and Community Energy in Pembrokeshire (CEP) (www.ynnisirbenfro.org) are community energy groups in the county that have benefitted from  funding assistance for feasibility studies to identify energy opportunities in their area.

The need for the studies was established through the PLANED action-planning process.

Several years later, they remain active in their communities with wind turbine projects currently in the planning system.

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