Everyone wins with Community Owned Renewable Energy

Thursday, December 05, 2013 5:30 PM | Helmut Schneider (Administrator)

Whenever a renewable energy project is planned and implemented in partnership with the local community we create a significant win / win solution.

Increasingly, Renewable Energy Co-ops build this partnership between developers of renewable energy projects and members of the respective community, a model that makes environmental and economic sense.

The local economy wins because revenues are distributed within the community throughout the life of the project, and with community ownership the likelihood for local contractors to be included in the competitive process during the construction and maintenance phase of the project significantly increase. Infrastructure work, excavation, construction, electrical connection and equipment rental are more likely to be awarded to contractors that are located in the community because their work practices and reliability are known by the community.

The environment wins when a community chooses renewable energy over the alternative of fossil fuel burning energy production. It is significantly easier for a community to make that choice when the community owns the project in partnership with the developer. Local Hydro Companies have been successfully leading the energy reduction effort which is only possible with the support of all members of the Oxford County Community and that same community spirit can put Oxford County on the map as a model for environmental change. Community ownership in the energy production from Wind, Solar and Bio fuels can support the County in this effort.

The Renewable Energy Project Developer wins because they receive first hand feedback from the local community about the community’s needs, its concerns and solution suggestions on how to address those needs. The information flow is fast tracked in both directions and many misunderstandings can be either avoided altogether or addressed quickly.

Most importantly the Community wins when its members can attain ownership in these renewable energy projects. Owners educate themselves about the product they consider investing in. Gaining a broader knowledge about the environmental impact of centralized conventional energy production and the opportunity curb these negative impacts with the implementation renewable energy projects is an important first step.

Owners monitor the development of their investment and ensure that the community interest is maintained and concerns are addressed. The partnership of member-owned Renewable Energy Cooperatives in these projects ensure that the community’s interests are represented throughout the project life.

Cooperatives can and will play a significant role in negotiating and administering annual funding from developers that support community initiatives such as playgrounds, community center improvements, or nature trails in the project areas.

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