Local community organisation, Hampshire Energy Group, has placed its support behind this week’s Government announcement on community energy schemes.
Martin Heath, spokesperson, Hampshire Energy Group, comments: “Increased generation of energy from renewable sources owned by local community schemes helps to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of renewable energy.”
The Group would like to see local and central Government make it easier for community energy groups to be able to establish themselves, with clear guidance on best practice and full Government support and guidance fed down through local authorities to ensure community energy schemes are given priority.
Hampshire Energy Group is already working closely with EDF Energy Renewables in order to bring a 10% ownership stake for the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm, on the junction of the A34 and A303 near Sutton Scotney.
Martin Heath continues: “We are in negotiations with the developer to ensure that we can bring the benefits of a local wind farm into our local communities. We recognise that all forms of power generation have costs and benefits, but community ownership will allow us to mitigate the costs with large benefits to the surrounding areas.”
The Group is intending to create a new co-operative by the end of July 2013, allowing members to invest in the proposed Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative, with funds being used to purchase a 10% share in the wind farm.
Revenue from this will be distributed back to the members, and surpluses reinvested back into the local community, for example, to fund local renewable energy schemes, such as solar panels on community buildings. .
How to make a difference
Hampshire Energy Group is asking people to help show their support for the proposed wind farm, by emailing local planning officers at the three councils – Basingstoke and Deane, Winchester City Council and Test Valley Borough Council.