Energy and Climate ChangeWritten evidence submitted by Kay Bickley

What contribution could medium-sized energy projects (5–50MW) make to the UK’s climate change, energy security and energy affordability objectives?

Projects of this size are affordable for individuals and communities who wish to make a contribution to climate change. We all have to do our bit.

What different models of ownership exist for medium-sized energy projects and how prevalent are they in the UK?

Ownership of these projects can range from the commercial enterprise to the community enterprise. Both need to be encouraged as they are valid expressions of interest in this market and feedback revenue into the local economy.

What types of financing model are most suitable for small- and medium-scale projects? Do these differ from the financing models used for larger-scale projects?

Financing for community projects come from the community and encourage ownership of both the problem and the solution.

Is there any evidence that medium-scale energy projects are more likely to be accepted by local communities?

There is clear evidence from the length of time and the level of controversy that surround the larger projects and their impact on the local community that smaller projects are more likely to succeed, but usually only after appeal.

What appetite is there for community-owned medium-scale energy projects in the UK?

There is a good level of appetite for community projects but the road to achieving them is fraught with little help from local government and local politicians who are too easily swayed by the “Not in My Back garden” Brigade.

What appetite is there among UK local authorities to invest in their own medium-scale energy projects?

This has only happened when government money has been evident.

What are the barriers to medium-scale energy projects in the UK?

Unhelpful local politicians, bad planning departments, lack of grid capacity, greedy power companies who are not making investment in the grid and expensive outlay.

How effective are current Government policies in encouraging local and medium-sized energy projects? Could they be improved in any way?

Government policies are encouraging but it is the local implementation of these policies locally that counts. Local authorities should be set targets for installations that they have to keep to and then they will stop finding excuses for not installing renewables. Less carrot and more stick should do it. The waste of the local tax payer’s money in having to go to appeal every time a medium sized wind turbine and or solar array is planned is absolutely outrageous.

April 2013

Prepared 2nd August 2013