Community schemes could help to put the spark into the energy market, says Norwich-based Cornwall Energy

10:40 24 July 2014

Energy. Pictures by PA.

Energy. Pictures by PA.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Ministers are being urged to act now to open the energy market to community groups – to make it easier for councils, businesses, and community groups to supply power to customers locally.

Norwichy-based Cornwall Energy, an EDP Future50 firm, has produced a manifesto looking at how the government can unlock the potential of ‘community energy supply’

The Department for Energy and Climate Change this year produced a community energy strategy predicting that one million homes could be powered by local suppliers by 2020 using community energy schemes, or up to 5pc of the supply produced by power stations.

However, the UK is still well behind countries such as Denmark and Germany, where half of all power stations are owned by the local community.

The report warned that in most cases the direct supply of electricity to consumers was a not a “realistic option” for local producers.

Barriers to entry included lack of in-house expertise and set up
costs, which start from upwards of £500,000.

“Current arrangements tend to support developments designed to be scaled for growth, not to enable small-scale operations matched against local need,” the report said.

Ed Reed, principal consultant at Cornwall Energy, and one of the authors of the report, said while there was an intention to develop community energy, current policy was nationally focused, with energy surpluses or shortages redistributed through the national grid.

However, tweaking these rules to allow that to happen locally would mean that local producers would be able to supply directly to local customers.

“The current market regulations have been defined from the starting point that anyone who wants to sell electricity to a consumer is probably going to be a national scale player,” he said.

“That makes it very difficult for anyone who wants to sell it locally.

“We are just trying to make the case that you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Do you have a business story for the EDP? Email

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Eastern Daily Press visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Eastern Daily Press staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Eastern Daily Press account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Management Jobs

Show Job Lists


Steve Beber, left, chief executive,, and Mike Pettitt, chief technical officer, of TRACKIT Solutions. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Future50 member TRACKIT Solutions has big plans which could transform the business in 2017, as SHAUN LOWTHORPE reports.

The installation vessel Giant 7 being used to install turbine jackets at Wikinger.

The East Anglian coastline is becoming a world leader for the offshore wind industry – but the lessons are being imported from abroad. Business editor MARK SHIELDS visited Germany’s Wikinger wind farm to find out more.

Green 100


Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition


Mustard TV

Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor


Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor


Business Most Read


Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100

Business Most Commented

Newsletter Sign Up