Strong growth reported for South East community energy sector

Community energy is powering thousands of homes in the South East, East of England and London, according to a report from electricity operator UK Power Networks.

The Community Energy Regional Report found that there are 50 different community energy projects connected to UK Power Networks three networks.

They generate 14.6 MW of electricity, enough to power 4,200 homes for a year solely off renewable energy and saving carbon emissions equivalent to more than 7,000 flights between London and New York.

The majority of community electricity generation in the region comes from two solar farms owned by Orchard Community Energy in Kent and Meadow Blue Energy in West Sussex, which generate 10.4 MW between them.

A total of 19 more organisations, many of them based in London and around Brighton, generate 4.2 MW of electricity from small-scale rooftop solar schemes.

Amber Rudd, cabinet minister and MP for Hastings and Rye said: ‘I strongly support the work of community energy companies on several important fronts. They are playing their part in getting more low carbon energy into the system while helping some of our most vulnerable residents.

‘I’m delighted to see UK Power Networks forging closer links with community energy groups, including the important work they are doing in my own constituency of Hastings and Rye with Energise Sussex Coast.’

Ollie Pendered, chief executive of Community Energy South added: ‘The UK energy sector is in the process of dramatic change. Community energy groups are critical to this shift and will help bring benefits and opportunities to communities across the country.

‘Our partnership with UK Power Networks is key to this adaptation as together we lead the transition toward a smarter approach to coordinating a future proof interconnected energy system.’

Last month, Environment Journal spoke to Emma Bridge, chief executive of Community Energy England, about a mixed 2018 for the sector and her concerns about what will replace the feed-in-tariff for small scale energy projects.

Read the interview here.

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Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

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