A joint article by
Samantha Go and Devika Narayan, SolSolution
Mümtaz Derya Tarhan, The Community Power Report
Perhaps one of the toughest challenges of our day is to strike a balance between short-term economic bottom-line and long-term environmental and economic sustainability. Community Power projects offer a very comprehensive and convincing solution to this problem by combining economic and environmental benefits – both in the short and the longer term. Local ownership of renewable energy initiatives promise to generate economic benefits both at the micro and macro levels, help citizens taking control of their own power generation and consumption, and build a strong foundation for a safer and more reliable energy future.
Local Ownership Pays Off – For Everyone!
|Local ownership accounts for 50%
of all economic activity created by a project
Whether the locally generated electricity is sold to the grid or used to offset electricity costs through net metering or behind-the-meter usage, project owners receive a direct financial benefit from community power projects. A recent study from Germany revealed that half of all economic activity generated through a project returns directly to the pocket of project owners, or in other words, community members.
|Local Energy Leads to More Sustainable Local Jobs|
A National Renewable Energy Laboratory study found that the impact of community-owned projects on jobs creation during construction period is 1.1 to 1.3 times higher than corporate ones, and 1.1 to 2.8 times higher during operations period.
|Community Power uplifts the entire local economy|
While some may think the environmental benefits of community power projects go without saying, they actually go much deeper than one may initially think! Yes, generating our electricity from clean sources is important, but in order to combat climate change in a comprehensive and sustainable manner, conservation is indispensable. It is even widely recognized that conservation before any energy generation takes place is much more cost and time effective than combating the negative effects of climate change after the fact.
As underlined by Patrick Devine-Wright, the current scheme of centralized global electricity production from traditional sources creates a significant ‘spatial and psychological distance’ between energy generation and energy use. In simpler words, we just flick on and off without knowing where and how out electricity is generated, and without even a basic understanding of the economic, social, environmental and personal impacts of electricity generation and use.
|Community Power helps us understand
the impacts of our electricity
generation and consumption choices
In shorter words, Community Power helps individuals become more connected to themselves, the environment, their community, and to the world.
Securing Our Energy Future
Besides generating clean energy, community-owned projects also provide a more comprehensive and sustainable solution to our energy issues.
Generating electricity close to where it is consumed reduces efficiency losses during transmission. This can speed up the transition towards distributed power generation from centralized sources, protect the environment, and generate economic benefits at the micro and macro levels.