New renewable energy guide for communities
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

A practical guide for communities who want to generate their own clean, green power has been launched by national charity ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).

The guide comes hot on the heels of the Government’s announcement of a £15m fund to help rural communities kick start renewable energy projects.

ACRE’s Renewable Energy Community Guide explains how generating electricity or heat from natural sources, such as sunlight, wind or waves, can help communities cut their carbon dioxide emissions and bring in income.

“Stiff global competition for conventional fuels such as coal, gas and oil, means that prices are likely to rise and stay high for the foreseeable future."

Produced with the Centre for Sustainable Energy, ACRE’s guide gives advice on planning renewable energy projects, such as wind turbines, solar panels and biomass boilers.

It also explains how communities can benefit from Government incentive schemes that guarantee payment per kWh of electricity or heat produced. These schemes allow communities to invest profits in local initiatives, such as community transport or youth facilities.

Case studies of successful projects are also featured, including:

A wind turbine in the village of Hockerton, Nottinghamshire, which will generate an estimated £60,000 payback for the village each year.

A wood pellet biomass boiler at the Grade II listed St Paul’s Church in Gulworthy Cross, Devon.

Two wind turbines that power the Wold Top Brewery and farm in East Yorkshire, creating a stable revenue stream.

Nick Chase, ACRE’s Director of Policy & Research, said: “Communities across the country are reaping the benefits of setting up their own renewable energy projects.

“Stiff global competition for conventional fuels such as coal, gas and oil, means that prices are likely to rise and stay high for the foreseeable future.

“Developing and owning a renewable energy source may mean you can save money on bills and generate income which can be invested in further energy-saving measures.

“Thus is especially important for people who may be struggling to pay their energy bills – 4.75 million people in the UK are in fuel poverty and spend more than 10% of their income on energy.

“In addition, using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels reduces carbon dioxide emissions, which in turn can help lessen the impact of climate change.

“Setting up a project may seem daunting but there is a wealth of help and advice available for communities who want to turn their natural resources into power. Our guide is an excellent place to start and the ACRE Network of rural community councils is well-placed to offer communities assistance and support for communities wishing to explore the potential of renewable energy.” The guide, which is sponsored by Endurance Wind Power, is available for free “download”:/downloads/.

The Government’s Rural Community Energy Fund, which is now open to applications, is aimed at helping rural communities access the money needed to carry out feasibility studies into renewable energy projects, and fund the costs associated with applying for planning permission. It is intended that projects will then be able to attract private finance to pay for renewable energy kit and get projects up and running. More information is available at “”: