Are Community Energy Projects the Best Way to Gain Support for Renewables?

Most people agree that climate change is a problem that we should try to mitigate. But in Britain’s rural and coastal areas, there is often stark opposition to new renewable energy projects.

By Gemma La Guardia, Guidehouse 

In the UK, a BEIS survey conducted in 2021 found that up to 80% of people were ‘worried about climate change’ to varying extents. However, projects that support low carbon electricity and renewable projects such as the proposed ‘East Anglia GREEN’ power line are currently encountering fierce opposition from local groups.

The line will run from Norwich to deliver energy generated at East Coast offshore wind projects to London. It may also connect the proposed nuclear facility Sizewell C to the wider UK electricity grid. But it is set to cut down trees and endanger local wildlife as it winds its way through a series of historic villages.

If the UK is to dramatically scale up renewable capacity, we need to understand and acknowledge the needs of these outlying communities while working to integrate them into the state’s broader decarbonisation journey. Many projects negatively impact communities by using farmland or impacting nature tourism in the area. More efforts therefore need to be made to make national decarbonisation goals recognisably beneficial to rural communities.

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