Renewable energy has to benefit local communities

In the race to become carbon neutral, we’re seeing an unprecedented shift towards renewables.

For years, local councils have looked for ways to reduce energy usage, driven almost solely by the associated cost savings.

From switching off streetlights to installing LED lights, as central budgets got cut so did the spending but not under the guise of reducing energy. It was always about cost.

But now these same organisations are actively investing in renewable energy and this time it’s not just about money – it helps them achieve their carbon neutral targets. It’s no longer a case of “we should do it”, but “we must do it”.

Warrington County Council has invested in two sizeable solar projects in Hull and York, Nottingham City Council has invested in over 50 commercial solar schemes across the city.

But, more importantly, both councils have invested in solar schemes that reduce the energy costs for their social housing tenants.

The public buys in when there’s a clear benefit.

The motor car replaced the horse because it was faster. Mobile phones went from 16% adoption in 1996 to 65% in 2002 not just because they were convenient, but because it was a faster way to do business.

Like the motor car and the cell phone, personal use of renewable energy is primarily being driven by the impact on wallets.

Every house should have solar, it makes sense. But while that’s not immediately achievable at least every new house should be built with solar, without exception.

New energy technology shouldn’t just provide clean energy, something else has to be given back. If a huge solar or wind farm is being built in your local area, then where’s the benefit to you?

Yes, the public generally wants to generate and using clean energy, but if it has only a minimal impact on electricity bills how are we going to drive mass adoption?

If a local community’s energy bills are still high (because of the increasing costs relating to planning, connection to an ageing grid system or transmission of energy) then the wider public won’t embrace it.

Communities are more likely to want infrastructure that provides high-speed internet access ahead of a huge solar/wind farm.

Is it possible that one day we will all be producing our own energy and sharing it with our neighbours, without it costing us a penny?

Maybe.

But can the companies producing renewable energy give back to the local communities so that there is a direct benefit?

Definitely.

Alpha 311’s technology is designed to produce renewable energy from the vehicles that pass through your communities… and share the revenue derived from that energy with your community.