December 23, 2022
Community owned renewable energy projects keep some of the profits in the community for other local benefit projects and investors in the infrastructure can earn a fair return on investment too. Community Sustainability Groups recently met with engineers from National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED) to improve understanding about what is and isn’t feasible for community energy projects in the South Hams.
Engineers Faithful Chandra and Andy Langman met with a group of nearly twenty participants representing eight South Hams community groups in South Brent on the 7th December. Faithful also joined a group of twelve in Bigbury that evening to discuss specific concerns for those within the Modbury and Kingsbridge sub-station areas.
The discussion events provided a space for learning more about how National Grid works (including potential significant changes coming up next year) and the wider context of the UK’s energy system. This is important as a lack of basic understanding of how the grid works and how the community energy platforms fit in is a possible barrier to entry. Several key issues were discussed, particularly focusing around a lack of understanding on the part of local sustainability groups around where connections may be available.
Participants were also able to share what their own community groups are working on and their knowledge on topics such as the Energy Local model, the work of the Devon Community Energy Network, and the Power Allotments Devon quest to identify suitable sites for solar or wind power development.
A significant point of conversation was how much opportunity there is for NGED planning engineers to learn more about Energy Local UK, Power Allotments Devon, and other community energy initiatives. It has been proposed and accepted that staff development in this area for NGED local planners will take place in the near future.
As actions from the meetings, National Grid engineers will meet with each of the South Hams primary sub-station areas to engage with community groups, discuss connection areas and introduce infrastructure maps and the online planning programme. Sustainable South Hams also will be meeting with Devon Community Energy Network to devise a capacity building programme for group leaders.
It is anticipated that emerging community energy groups will need to be coordinated into Primary Substation Groups to gain efficiency in any investments needed. To keep abreast of developments please join our discussion group (see below) and encourage stakeholders to join in.
Sustainable South Hams has a Special Interest Group set up to allow connection between all those interested in community energy - request to join the group here.
View the National Grid video How could electricity be generated and consumed within your community in future?