Community the way ahead for renewable projects, says forum
Businesses being urged to consider community projects rather than going it alone if they want to get involved in generating renewable energy.
The Southern Renewable Energy Forum (SREF) has been set up by Lewes accountancy firm Knill James alongside solicitors Mayor Wynne Baxter and Samuel & Son, chartered surveyors, to advise businesses and communities on how take advantage of new schemes to generate green energy and lower energy bills.
These kind of projects, which allow communities to share the benefits of clean generation, are being looked on favourably by local planners at a time when government subsidies are still available but slowly being withdrawn.
It means there are significant benefits for businesses who opt to share a project with other companies and private homes in their local area, with a view to using the energy rather than selling it back to the grid.
Kevin Powell, a partner at Knill James and a founder member for the SREF, said: “Our advice is to take stock of your neighbourhood and see how businesses and residents can share free power.
“However, any project is a big investment and, with the progressive removal of subsidies, it is equally important to do the accountancy arithmetic thoroughly at the due diligence stage.”
Energy policy announcements from the new government prompted the SREF to meet to discuss the potential implications for suppliers and users of green energy. The Queen’s Speech seemed to confirm that any renewable project where the energy produced is used within the community rather than exported to the grid, is more likely to gain planning support.
Not only are community support projects favoured by Government, but in the south they make sense because the problems and expense of connecting to the local grid, which is pretty much up to capacity, can make many projects unviable.
“Renewable projects should still be high on the agenda of any rural landowner or business with spare space, but favouring local use of the power produced rather than exporting to the grid makes more sense”, added Kevin Powell.
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About SREF: The Southern Renewable Energy Forum brings together the legal expertise of Mayo Wynne Baxter, the accounting and financial expertise of Knill James and the property development and planning expertise of Samuel & Son to ensure that clients, prospects and contacts of each firm can find a ‘one stop shop’ to turn to for advice and guidance when considering energy and utility sourcing.