U.K. energy bill could prevent renewable industry growth

Wind power advocates are concerned that community-driven renewable energy projects could be squashed.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

As the Energy Bill proceeds through parliament, U.K. wind power advocates are concerned that community-driven renewable energy projects could be prevented from proceeding.

The idea of community-owned renewable energy projects in the U.K. has received vocal support from government officials, but without supportive policy measures, the Energy Bill may do more harm than good. The bill, developed with large commercial generators in mind, requires project members to join the "contracts for difference" system -- which has a number of factors that would impede smaller, community- driven drives.

The contracts for difference stipulation requires project members to have high levels of specialized knowledge, creating high administrative levels and potentially excluding volunteers from such projects. Not only this, but it could also prevent community-based projects from selling their energy at a fair price.

Critics have suggested very few community projects will be affected, but as community energy is an emerging market, larger community projects may soon not be the exception to the rule -- if given the freedom to grow.

Organizations including the National Trust, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have called for community schemes to be exempt to the contracts for difference regime.

A number of U.K. residents have been against the construction of wind farms due to its effect on the landscape, but a recent survey saw a drop in those against such projects if they are community-driven -- something the government should take into account while reviewing the Energy Bill.

Read More: The Guardian

Image credit: Alan Cleaver

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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