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Community renewables hits new heights

27 per cent increase in ownership.

Community and locally owned energy capacity in Scotland could generate enough electricity to power approximately 100,000 domestic households, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced at the Scottish Renewables' Onshore Wind Conference today.

As at June 2014, 361 Megawatts (MW) of community and locally energy capacity is now operational which is a 27 per cent increase from the last update and shows Scotland is on course to make the 500 MW target by 2020. This could however be hindered as result of the recent announcement by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, of their intention to close the Renewables Obligation for onshore wind from April 2016.

Mr Ewing, who is making the keynote address at the conference, will tell the audience:

“The Scottish Government is defining a distinctive approach to Scotland’s future energy provision; putting communities at the heart of decisions about their local energy system; and empowering them to take an economic stake in new developments. We are well on our way to achieving our target by 2020 which has the potential value to our communities and local businesses of up to £2.2 billion.

“Onshore wind is our most successful technology for community benefits, and it has the potential to transform local areas through community ownership. Giving communities more control over their own energy will help us tackle challenges like grid constraints and fuel poverty – while at the same time sparking economic revival.

“On the Isle of Lewis we have the largest community-owned wind farm in the UK at 9MW. This will generate around £1 million each year for the local community who will decide how to spend that money. However, potentially the future of projects like this could be under threat as a result of the recent announcements by the UK Government, and it will be tragic if these opportunities are lost to future communities.

“I will continue to discuss with the UK Government ways that commercial schemes with shared community ownership can be encouraged under all support schemes and in the meantime, the Scottish Government will use our own powers to keep up the momentum we’ve already built.”

Source: The Scottish Government

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