In an event in the Pierhead in Cardiff Bay today Community Energy Wales have launched their report looking at the state of the community energy sector. The report outlines the opportunities created by alternative means of energy ownership that arise from the move away from fossil fuels and highlights the ways communities can see a drop in their energy bills and generate revenue that can be invested in their local area.
The report argues that community ownership of clean means of generating energy, such as solar panels, wind turbines and hydro-electric projects represent a way for communities to earn long term revenue. This income can then be used to fund and develop more community enterprises in order to answer the demands and needs of communities as the profit made from community ownership models can be reinvested locally.
The report was funded by the Welsh Government, and it analyses the activities of community energy organisations in 2022 by means of interviews with 37 stakeholders in the sector and site visits to the locations they operate. The report states that as there haven’t been any new major developments since the last report on the sector in 2021, that the authors have focused on how established projects have had an effect on their local communities. This includes looking at the positive changes that are to be seen in these areas, along with the challenges that are aced in terms of regulation and market conditions that have seen significant inflation and a general rise in energy prices.
The report therefore draws attention to community energy project that have already been established, such as Ynni Ogwen in Bethesda, that has seen new jobs created in one of the most deprived areas in Wales, helping to reduce fuel poverty and provide general economic, social and wellbeing benefits also.
In a joint statement, Ben Ferguson and Leanne Wood, Co-executive Directors of Community Energy Wales said:
‘We are at a fundamental moment. The decarbonisation of our energy system and the end of fossil fuels provides a host of opportunities for communities in Wales. Communities are best placed to lead this change. We as a country must grab hold of these opportunities now, to ensure that the benefits from them are retained in Wales, and are felt in our communities for generations to come.’
To read the full report, go to Community Energy Wales’s website.