The Renewable Energy Association (REA) announced on Monday that it has launched Renewables Marketplace, a free online platform designed to encourage new partnerships between the renewables industry and community groups, as well as private and public sector organisations.
According to the UK renewable energy trade association, the Renewables Marketplace has been created for groups and organisations that are seeking to supply their own energy, recycle their wastes and help address climate change, as well as save money and invest for the future. The free service is also expected to encourage new business partnerships to be formed.
REA is said to be the largest renewable energy trade association in the UK, with around 1,000 members that range from major multinationals to sole traders. It represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK across power, heat, transport and renewable gas.
Groups and organisations may be helped by REA members who reply to online posts made on the Renewables Marketplace with advice or details about finance, equipment or renewable fuel or fertiliser.
Live posts made on the Renewable Marketplace are varied and include: an abattoir seeking a biogas plant to take 10 tonnes a week of sheep paunch; a willow coppice looking to be harvested for biomass energy; and an agent hoping to source waste heat to supply greenhouses. Posters’ contact details are not given away, enabling posters to remain in control of the process.
Renewable industry associations such as REA have reportedly been asked by the Secretary of State to work together with the community energy sector to facilitate community ownerships of renewable energy projects and to set a level of ambition for electricity generation that is partly or wholly owned by communities. REA said that by 2015, the Government expects “it will be the norm for communities to be offered the opportunity of some level of ownership of new, commercially developed onshore renewables projects.” The association added that it welcomes the Government’s new Community Energy Strategy.
Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of REA, commented: “We are looking forward to starting this dialogue with the community energy sector. We are confident that greater community engagement and investment in commercial project development will accelerate renewables deployment and the benefits that brings to society – mitigating climate risks, reducing dependence on energy imports and creating jobs in the green economy.”
“Communities should benefit directly from renewables development as well. Local benefits can take many forms, from new jobs and exclusive investment opportunities to self-supply of renewable heat, electricity, transport fuels and fertilisers.”