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District energy prompt for government

A recently released report compiled by independent UK think tank ResPublica highlights the benefits of community energy schemes and urges the government to provide more support.

The Re-energising our Communities: Transforming the energy market through local energy production report has been launched in response to the government’s Feed-in Tariff consultation.

It is backed by Friends of the Earth and recommends opening up the energy market to end the domination of the six main energy companies.

Emphasising the social, environmental and economic benefits of community energy, the report highlights successful UK schemes such as the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, Torrs Hydro in Sheffield and Fintry Renewable Energy Enterprise in Stirling.

These could be replicated across the UK and could result in communities owning their own local grid network and enjoying a number of benefits as a result.

The report has won approval with the Heating and Hotwater Industries Council director Roger Webb stating: “HHIC’s response to the recent report by ResPublica is that there are many positives regarding the deployment of community energy projects.

“For a start it is a great way to get people thinking and incorporating energy efficiency into their everyday lives as part of the bigger community. “

David Frise HVCA (soon to be known as B&ESA) head of sustainability, said: “District energy schemes will inevitably play a larger role in our energy future.

“At the moment, only two per cent of UK heat comes from community schemes, but DECC has made it a significant part of its new urban heating strategy.”

He also pointed to initiatives like the Greater London Authority’s energy network scheme as an example of how progress is being made in this area.

“Energy and heating networks are coming and our industry needs to be up to speed and ready to work with them,” said Mr Frise.