Northern Powergrid has set out the benefits of community energy across the North East of England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire as part of its wider effort to increase the support it provides to local energy projects.
On 4 September, having partnered with Community Energy England and Scene Connect, it launched its Regional Community Energy Study, analysing the 20 community energy organisations within its operating area. All are looking to address the climate emergency by generating renewable energy, delivering energy efficiency measures and advice, as well as launching energy storage and low carbon transport projects, while they each generate local social, environmental and economic benefits. This includes alleviating fuel poverty.
It found that in 2019, the 20 community energy projects owned 1.85MW of electricity generation capacity, enough to power almost 600 homes; delivered £250,000 low carbon investment with more than 97% (£244,000) benefiting local economies; delivered £400,000 worth of energy efficiency services and improvements to 2,500 homes and businesses; and supported 18.5 jobs, while avoiding nearly 500 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The study further revealed the greatest barriers to community groups in Northern Powergrid’s region were a lack of expertise and organisational capacity. A lack of suitable sites was also cited as a key challenge for project development and deployment, with Northern Powergrid stating the findings will improve the support it provides to community energy projects.