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British Academy survey reveals the most attractive community energy projects for investment

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The British Academy has published the results of a YouGov survey on community energy investment and co-ownership as part of its series of Debates on Energy and the Environment and its Community Energy Generation project. The survey reveals insights into people’s opinions about community owned energy projects, and different types of energy investment.

Highlights include: 

  • Solar power was the most popular energy project to invest in or co-own among British adults
  • Among those aged 60+ energy from waste was the most popular option
  • Lowering of household bills was cited as the most popular reason for investing or co-owning a local community energy project. 

The survey asked people to select which type of energy project they would be most interested in investing in or co-owning; the options given were solar panels/grid, energy from waste, wind farm/turbine, biomass, hydropower and geothermal. Of these options, solar power was the most popular (28%) and geothermal was the least popular with only 4%. There were some differences between age groups and which type of energy project people were most keen to invest in; the most popular option amongst those over 60 was energy from waste (24%) whereas, in line with the general population, the project 18-24 year olds were most interested in investing in or co-owning was solar power.

The survey also asked why people might want to invest in or co-own a community energy project. By far the most popular answer was to reduce the cost of their household bills (47%). A high financial return on investment from an energy project was also popular (23%). Only 6% of those surveyed said their main reason would be to allow them to be more involved in their local community.

A panel of experts discussed local energy projects, co-ownership of energy generation and how we can change the rapidly growing cities of the world at a British Academy Debate in Edinburgh on 4 November.

Alongside its Debates on Energy and the Environment, the British Academy has commissioned a team led by Rebecca Willis, in association with Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, to research case studies of community energy projects across the world, to understand better the cultural contexts behind those projects. Her team will be asking why community energy projects – such as co-operatively owned wind farms, or shared solar panels – take root in some countries rather than others.

To find out more visit the Community Energy Generation page.

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