The carbon saving potential of community renewable energy in the UK

  • Maddy Stow

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

Abstract

This research answers the question: what is the potential of community renewable energy projects to reduce carbon emissions in the United Kingdom (UK)? This research provides evidence of the benefits of community energy projects in the UK that have been identified as lacking in a recent report produced for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.The work is based on analysis of primary data collected from 13 community energy projects that were active in 2011 in England and Wales. The 13 projects were based around energy generation and cover three types of technology: photovoltaic (PV), wind turbine and hydro power.A qualitative assessment is carried out of interviews conducted with representatives of the community energy projects to examine why certain actions are taken during the development and delivery of the projects.Life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology is applied to these case studies to calculate their carbon impact in three areas: directly through installation of the project; indirectly through use of the income stream created by the project; and indirectly due to behaviour change in the community caused by increased knowledge and/or acceptance of energy generation and climate change issues. The LCA results are then used to model the potential impact of the community energy projects that have already been installed in the UK.The results of the work suggest that community energy projects do generally reduce carbon emissions in the UK. However use of the income stream typically reduces the potential for the community energy project to reduce carbon emissions. Behaviour change in households to install additional energy generation can increase the potential for the community energy project to reduce carbon emissions. The impact, both positive and negative that government policy has had on the sector is significant despite the perceived independent nature of the sector.
Date of Award14 May 2015
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMarcelle McManus (Supervisor) & Steve Cayzer (Supervisor)

Cite this

The carbon saving potential of community renewable energy in the UK
Stow, M. (Author). 14 May 2015

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD