Opportunities for Community Renewable Energy Schemes in Rural Bridgend

Sustainable Wales, a third sector organisation, hosted a public lecture in early 2017 to begin mobilizing local stakeholders and communities to take action on renewable energy. A working group then came together in a stakeholder workshop with Reach support to look at practical actions that could be taken. As an outcome, the working group commissioned a study to better understand the options and viability of any locally-led community renewable energy schemes.

The study identified potential to create renewable energy and matched it with somebody to potentially buy that energy at an agreed price creating a surplus of funds for the community. It included Wind, Solar Hydro, CHP, Biomass, Heat Pumps and Anaerobic Digestion. A shortlist of possible schemes was identified and the next steps will involve working closely with the communities in these areas to begin a grass-roots movement to get their schemes established.

For these schemes to work, the study recommended forming a Community Benefit Society (CBS). The CBS would oversee each of the local schemes and support them through making applications for capital funds and handling things such as community share initiatives. The steering group is developing a community renewables network to bring like-minded people together and funding applications are being made to support further site feasibility studies, project management and engagement.