People residing near a wind farm could be entitled to purchase a stake for as little as £5. In a report produced for Ed Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, community energy groups, academics and renewable energy trade bodies said that future wind and solar farms will give locals a chance to invest.
Recently, onshore wind farms have led to some debate and the Tory government has promised to close off subsidies if they win the 2015 elections. Hence the “Shared Ownership Taskforce” is designed to partly ward off that threat.
Maria McCaffery, chair of the task force, said “We hope with this vehicle to attract some of those that haven’t liked us in the past. There will be people motivated with a financial return and given the economy, there aren’t many risk-free ways to get a return”.
Mr Davey said , “By giving communities the opportunity to buy in and benefit from renewable energy developments in their area, they can play their part in generating power at a local level which could supply enough power for 1 million homes by 2020”.
Moreover, whilst the task force said that the cost should be neutral, renewable energy companies are concerned at the cost of obtaining community engagement. Leonie Green, from Solar Trade association, said “Forming direct financial relationships with communities is exciting, but there are still important unknowns on the costs of the approach”. To add, the report accepts some towns and villages will be disinterested by the shared ownership programme but developers should not be judged by the planning officials on the negative outcome. But according to Ms.McCaffery, “It’s clear that local authorities will look more favourably on projects where local people are fully engaged and wholeheartedly supportive”.
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