Fife Community Renewables Initiative

We want to create new renewable energy generation that is owned by the community, and is for the community. It’s been done elsewhere and now we think it is time for it to happen in Fife.

Solar panels being installed

What’s the project for?

We’ve all heard about climate change – this project is about getting involved within our own communities. We don’t have to leave it all to huge corporations and governments to act, communities can generate some of their own energy and keep more of the benefits locally.

Who’s going to benefit?

Communities will benefit. That’s the joint purpose of the project – communities and climate change. The local benefits could include community benefit payments and services, amenities for communities such as play areas or bike tracks, electric vehicle charging for local people who don’t have off street parking, and a good return on investment for local savers. And we’re looking into how we could sell local renewable energy to local people at a discount.

Local businesses would benefit too, by accessing clean local renewables for the same unit cost as their existing electricity.

What’s it going to look like?

Depending on where each part of the project is, it will look different. In urban areas it would probably use solar panels mounted on the roofs of large buildings or ground mounted on derelict sites. So local communities aren’t going to see much visual change.

Can you save me money on my energy bills?

Not at the moment, but we would love to provide local people with access to discounted electricity generated locally. The problem is that current grid electricity regulations make direct sales impossible, but people are working on ways to make this happen, and we’ll keep up to date with that.

Who’s involved in the project?

Fife Communities Climate Action Network (the network of community organisations in Fife that are working on climate change) is leading the project. We want to work in collaboration with local landowners and business, the public sectors and other third sectors organisations to make the project happen.

What stage are you at?

We’re at the early stages, seeking partners and investigating feasibility.

Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative
Photo from Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative

Will I be able to get a financial benefit in the future?

The project would be partly funded by a community share offer. There are already at least 30 community renewables projects around the UK that have raised money in this way (see www.energy4all.co.uk for some examples). Individuals and local organisations can typically invest from £250 up to £20k and in other projects have got a fixed return of 4%.

How will the community be involved?

We will set up a community steering group for each project area. Members of the public will be encouraged to join and help steer the project. We will also carry out a community consultation to tell local people about the project in their area, and they can have their voices heard.

We would love to hear feedback from local organisations and others on this. Are there opportunities in your area? Would you like to be involved? Please get back to us with your comments – you can email us on facilitator.fccan@gmail.com.

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