The Clubb Doctrine; presumed consent for community energy projects

My first hands-on experience with renewables was at Sunseed in 2004 - David Clubb is Director of RenewableUK Cymru

I’ve been working in the renewable energy sector since 2004. Of the thousands of people I’ve met during that time, I’ve never encountered anyone who opposed community energy.

Even the anti-wind die-hards don’t object to community energy — as long as it’s not wind, natch.

You’d think that with widespread public, civic and political support for community energy it would be ubiquitous. But it’s not. Not even close.

Less than 10 MW of Wales’ 2,300 MW of renewable electricity is community-owned. That’s a miniscule 0.4%.

Read the full article at the Institute of Welsh Affairs site:

New Resources added to our energy links page

We've added some more resources to our links and download page devoted to community renewable energy:


PDF An 'Energiewende' for Wales scoping document (regenwales) 

A Smarter Energy Future for Wales report - National Assembly for Wales. March 2016 - PDF 5.5mb

Call for Small Scale Renewable Energy Proposals March 2017

English (PDF)  -  Cymraeg (PDF)

Institute of Welsh Affairs: 

Re-energising Wales - Funding renewable energy projects in Wales (PDF download)

Questions to ask decision-makers about community energy

- to ask politicians/policy makers  Word document (English) and Word document (Cymraeg)

IWA report ‘Funding renewable energy projects in Wales

On the launch of the IWA report ‘Funding renewable energy projects in Wales’, Shea Jones sets out the barriers and opportunities to Wales reaching its climate change targets

‘As a nation, we are rich in energy resources and this provides a tremendous opportunity to fuel our drive for a fairer and more prosperous Wales and to achieve a better quality of life for our own and future generations’.

This statement comes directly from the First Minister’s foreword to Welsh Government’s ‘Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition’. Renewable energy across Wales has the potential to substantially boost the Welsh economy and significantly help Wales to meet its climate change targets, however accessing funding for projects across Wales is currently one of the biggest barriers to achieving this potential as outlined in a report published today by the Institute of Welsh Affairs. 

The report ‘Funding Renewable Energy Projects in Wales’ highlights the missed opportunities and the main barriers to being able to raise financial capital from within Wales for renewable energy schemes in order to ensure that wider economic and social benefits are retained locally. It is the first report to be launched as part of the IWA’s ‘Re-Energising Wales’ project which will set out a plan to enable Wales to meet its projected energy demands entirely from renewable sources by 2035.

Read the full article download the report


Shine a Light screening at Public Meeting, Porthcawl April 6th

Shine a Light? will be screened at a public meeting – Producing our own energy - GRAND PAVILION, (STAGE DOOR), Porthcawl, 7.30pm, Thursday April 6. Event details

Register your interest in coming:

The event, organised by Sustainable Wales, includes guest speakers from Community Energy Wales, RENEW Wales, Cardiff University and IWA-Institute Welsh Affairs.

Feed-in Tariff cuts not the end of local community energy schemes

Feed-in Tariff cuts not the end of local community energy schemes

There have been a number of concerns raised recently about the future of community energy - withsome local groups understandably worried about cuts to Feed-in Tariff rates. However Graham Ayling, Head of Energy Saving Trust Foundation, thinks its time is coming. 

'There's no denying that the past year has been incredibly tough for community energy groups who've put their heart and soul into projects, only to have to go back to square one as government policy changed. However, this is an incredibly resilient sector, full of people determined to drive forward action on climate change and bring about a fairer, more democratic energy sector. It isn't about to roll-over and give up.

In the short-term, there's still a lot going on as many community groups pre-registered for the Feed-in Tariff (FiTs) so their projects should go ahead. For example, there's a great project we've been involved with in Swansea, where the council is setting up a community solar PV scheme in some of its most deprived areas, with the aim to directly benefit those wards. These schemes will make the sector stronger, generating income for new community projects, as well asrenewable energy.'

Full article at WCVA site.

The rise of green energy can't be stopped

The UK missed its target to generate 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2010, but, just 5 years later in 2015 was up to nearly 25 per cent:

"It's incredible growth and a pattern that's being repeated globally. This is the future. Look at solar PV - a few years ago there was no financial payback, now it's on the verge of becoming one of the cheapest ways to generate energy. Uptake has been way beyond what anyone expected, because it's a popular technology. This isn't going to go away.

In the past, there was a perception that making a greener choice was always a compromise, but now people can see that the technology is good and can fit in with their lifestyle. It's really going to take off. What's needed now is policy that recognises and grabs the opportunity.'

Ultimately, Ayling is confident the DIY culture of community energy will see it through current challenges. He added:

'Community energy has always been about going out and doing it regardless. Of course funding helps, but it feels like we're on the verge of finding ways to do without subsidy if needs be. Then, who is going to stop it?'

Campaigning to support renewable energy Shine a Light? The next steps…

Campaigning to support renewable energy

Shine a Light? The next steps…

The aims of ‘Shine a Light?/Golau Newydd?’ are to profile local community energy, to educate, and to provide an effective campaigning tool.

A vital step should be to develop new partnerships. Importantly, these must include Local Authorities.

‘Shine a Light?/Golau Newydd’ directly challenges local politicians ‘to wake-up and smell the coffee’ as one contributor, Alan Simpson, says.

But there must be mutual benefit, and the community energy network must be better at communicating our approach.

We cannot expect the excellent Robert Proctor to do it all!

Community Energy faces many obstacles but ‘Shine a Light?’ outlines the potential in local jobs, community involvement and regeneration, whilst reducing our local carbon footprint.

What we learned in the making of the film is that those who work on community/local renewable energy projects are real local heroes.

As director I attempted to become familiar with the often intricate detail of renewable projects. Often, many years of activists’ lives are dedicated to community renewable energy.

The people we interviewed for the film – from Bro Gwaun to Awel Aman Tawe to Taf Bargoed to Cenin at Parc Stormy, clearly had to learn on the job. Often the hard way.

Yet it is unlikely that politicians can or will get to grips with community energy, unless there is a groundswell of support from the public for local renewables.

However, who does stand out is former Labour MP, Alan Simpson. It is Simpson’s enthusiasm for local energy that originally inspired Sustainable Wales to make ‘Shine a Light?’?Golau Newydd.

Everyone at our charity feels that there is enough international evidence, and certainly a moral case, to ensure far better provision of local energy.

But we understand that these heroes have to spend so much time getting projects off the ground that little opportunity remains to explain either their difficulties or their projects’ virtues.

Excellent advocates and communicators such as Alan Simpson are vital. But it’s also important that ‘practitioners’ become lobbyists, as Paul Kent, Dan McCallum, Tom Latter and Martyn Popham have proved.

Others in the network need to help. It isn’t enough for the environmental NGO’s to campaign, local energy practitioners have to become more vocal as we develop a local economy fit for the twenty-first century.

Shine a Light? / Golau Newydd? was the only Welsh made film in the 2016 UK Green Film Festival held in Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. (Screened May 6).

The discussion afterwards was thoughtful and stimulating. Sue Essex (former Welsh Assembly Environment Minister) commented on the importance of providing evidence such as ‘Shine a Light?/Golau Newydd’ for politicians.

Crucially, everyone agreed, the film must be screened as widely as possible, using all social media.

“The community energy movement needs to innovate; to find new ways to bridge the gap between where we find ourselves today and the arrival of grid parity”, comments Leo Murray Director of Strategy 10:10 in “Community Energy The Way Forward”.

Sustainable Wales also wishes like to make further high quality films about local energy. They could profile:

  • *good practice wherever it might be found;
  • *the benefits that local renewable schemes can bring to particular areas;
  • *the importance of ‘energy clusters’ such as Cenin, at Parc Stormy, Porthcawl;
  • *new ways of financing;
  • *local partnerships;
  • *social benefits;
  • *battery storage;
  • *obtaining a greater share of the retail value of the energy;
  • *reclaiming the Grid. 

Your suggestions are very welcome. Letters of support and creative ideas would also assist in grant applications, crowd funding, etc.

Sustainable Wales believes that well made film can communicate in a uniquely powerful manner. But to achieve high quality production, we require funds.

Film and funding ideas should be sent to: Margaret Minhinnick






Community Energy questions For Political Parties - downloads

Community Energy questions For Political Parties

Sustainable Wales and Community Energy Wales have set out some of the challenges and opportunities for Locally owned Energy in the following resources.

This is a guide to some questions you could put to candidates in the upcoming 2016 Welsh Elections.

You can download these questions as a Word document. The questions can also be downloaded in the form of a letter to send to your candidate:

Word document (English language version) and Word document (Cymraeg) for printing.

RTF document (English language, works in most word processors and text editors or copy and paste into your email etc.) 121kb

Members of Community Energy Wales want to see:

  • Targets for community energy in Wales
  • A right of local supply
  • Easing of the planning process for Community Renewables
  • Measures to address grid constraints
  • A community right to buy in Wales
  • Co-ordinated and co-designed support for Community Energy in Wales

Questions to ask...

Have you seen Sustainable Wales' Film on Community Energy?  How would you address some of the issues and opportunities outlined in the film?

Shine a Light?

Would your party advance the recommendations outlined in a ‘Smarter Energy Future For Wales’ prepared by the National Assembly Environment and Sustainability Committee published March 2016 to support the transition to Renewable locally owned energy supply in Wales.

  • Establish an umbrella ‘not for profit’ energy services company, which would allow LA’s city regions or communities to offer an energy supply locally.
  • Urge UK government to enable OFGEM to allow prioritisation of local supply to local people.
  • Aim to meet all of Wales energy needs from renewables in the context of a need for a carbon emissions reduction by 2050.
  • Establish that carbon emissions and reduction targets become local duties for local authorities.
  • Have a greater say in how the grid, Distribution Network Operators and energy companies operate.
  • Provide and facilitate support for energy storage to promote local supply.
  • Amend and streamline planning policy to prioritise local and community owned renewable projects.
  • Provide support for and advice for local community energy projects at all government levels assisting and working with CEW and partners such as ROCBF on alternative financing options for schemes.

What can Wales do to overcome the challenges imposed by the UK government in Westminster with the reduction of the FIT and the removal of the Enterprise Investment Scheme for those investing in Community Owned Energy?

  • Would your party support a separate Welsh ‘Feed in Tariff’ for renewable energy or community owned renewables generated in Wales. 
  • Enable the use of Public buildings and land for Community Owned Energy
  • Buy your energy from local Welsh sources of Renewable Energy
  • How would you propose to overcome the challenges of an outdated and constrained electricity grid in Wales
  • Should there be a ‘Welsh electricity grid’ and who should own it
  • Should Welsh Government invest in upgrading the grid where there are constraints?

Why isn’t your party communicating more clearly the urgency of climate change?

It seems likely that the nuclear power plant at Hinkley C is not going to go ahead.  What is your alternative, how is locally owned Energy part of the solution?

What Energy powers should be devolved to Wales?


Chapter Cinema Cardiff screening & Discussion of Shine a Light? 6 May 16:30

Shine A Light? Screening & Discussion

Wales/20mins/2016/NC Dir: Margaret Minhinnick

Shine a Light?, a  20 minute politically challenging film, supports the idea of democratising our energy supply, bringing ownership and profit back into communities whilst reducing climate change. Local energy schemes are massively important in Germany and other EU countries, whilst the UK lags far behind. 

Filmed by Park6 Productions for the charity Sustainable Wales, it features former MP Alan Simpson, Professor Calvin Jones and local groups and a superb soundtrack from Twm Morys.

Join us for a post-screening discussion with the Director, Editor and representatives of Community Energy Wales. 

Free but ticketed, drinks reception afterwards.

See our invitation mailed out recently

- See more at:

A Smarter Energy Future for Wales report

A Smarter Energy Future for Wales report is published:

The key messages from the Committee are:

If Wales is to meet its climate change obligation of at least an 80% reduction by 2050 we need to change the way we think about energy; its generation, distribution, storage and conservation. The landmark deal on climate change in Paris last December sets a framework for Wales to accelerate its action in this area, making real strides towards reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and setting the bar high for a new energy model.

Leadership is key to achieving an energy transformation, with a clear and stable policy direction paving the way. This policy must lead Wales to a decarbonised energy system, with the aim of Wales meeting all of its energy needs from renewable sources. Local energy supply to local markets is a cornerstone of this new policy, and, whilst larger-scale inward investment projects will continue to play a part in providing energy security, diffused local solutions must also feature highly in a future renewable, sustainable energy jigsaw.

Energy conservation and demand reduction must be addressed, and are areas where Wales holds the necessary levers and powers to take action now. Both new buildings and existing housing stock present opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

Find out more:

Read the full briefing 

Up to date history of the debate surrounding this issue from the Environment and Sustainability Committee at the National Assembly for Wales.

Download the report (PDF 5.5mb English language version, the above briefing link is available in Welsh). PDF link will open in a new window. Our Shine a Light? Community Energy links and resources page has this document and more...