Opportunities for Community Renewable Energy Schemes in Rural Areas of Bridgend
The Thriving Rural Communities Preparatory Support Scheme
The aim of this project was to have a better understanding of the options and viability of any community renewable energy schemes. To help develop sustainable, resilient rural communities which have control over their energy future by reducing energy costs and potentially creating long term income sources for other community uses whilst having a positive impact on climate change.
The project identified layers of interest which, were analysed for alignment with community renewable schemes with scope for detailed business plan development and funding programme development. Opportunity mapping included identifying and matching energy demand with opportunities for energy generation Wind, Solar Hydro, CHP, Biomass, Heatpumps and Anerobic Digestion.
A total of 55 sites were identified as having adequate energy demand to support a renewable project with generation potential at an appropriate scale. Following options assessment exercises a shortlist of projects was identified with a total of 4.3MW of capacity with a total capital cost of £2.5m.
This comprises the Schools and Pools Group, Ogmore Vale Group, Llangeinor Group, Evanstown Hydro and incorporates a potential 850kW roof mounted solar, 3.4MW of heatpumps and 36kW of hydro. Next steps includes detailed Site Feasibility Study and agreements for Initial Heads of Terms for each site.
The project concluded that the viability of the schemes are in large dependant on the formation of a single Community Benefit Society (CBS) to develop multiple sites. This is because the economy of scale achieved by grouping projects together helps to mitigate additional cost which may be necessary for a community share offer and the legal agreements and site connectivity (pipes and cables etc.) where many parties are involved.
Reach are currently looking to develop a community renewable network to facilitate the formation of a community benefit society and will be looking to support further site feasibility study and engagement with stakeholders.