Local and community ownership of wind projects, ranging from 100% ownership of small projects to minor participation in larger schemes can bring significant benefits to the local community and economy. Barriers which have in the past hindered local and community participation were identified as fair and easy access to information, specialist knowledge, markets and finance. This website page details major advances in community RE projects in the UK over the past two years that have addressed and overcome these barriers.
The major barriers to community involvement can be summed up under four categories:
Access to information: Communities are often unaware that they can become involved in RE projects, and of the ways of doing so. Much of the information, for wind energy, is negative, biased and often factually incorrect. This has led to a certain relunctance on the part of the public to invest in something that is seen as controversial and negative.
Access to knowledge: This refers to the ‘how’ of the project. The community may not have the necessary specialist skills to develop a project and these costs may be beyond the reaches of the community particularly in the early stages of a project.
Access to finance: Securing finance can be very difficult and the trading of shares is closely regulated, and the open advertising of shares is strictly controlled.
Access to markets: With the demise of NFFO and the introduction of the new trading arrangements, securing long-term contracts with a guaranteed purchase price and accounting for balancing charges pose a real threat to the development of local and community schemes