The Community Energy Network encourages communities to investigate the potential to develop alternative forms of energy, to learn from others who have developed energy projects, share ideas and develop their own projects.
To help this network, PLANED has organised events such as a Web Seminar with Community Energy Scotland, a workshop on ‘Returns on Renewables’, and a visit to see wind turbines in action. It has also raised awareness of alternative energy issues through the Sustainable Agriculture Network.
The ‘Valuing the Environment’ network aims to help communities to develop the skills they need in order to design and implement practical projects that enhance the environment of the county, and which thereby improve quality of life and may extend the opportunities for sustainable tourism and recreation. These practical projects appear within Community Action Plans.
PLANED has organised a range of training and workshop events with the help of experts, to extend people’s understanding of the environment. Topics include wildlife gardening, willow weaving, energy auditing, funding for community environmental groups etc. Environmental awareness is also promoted through the ‘Wildlife on your Patch’ project, enabling local people to find out more about the wildlife living in their neighborhood.
This project is exploring the feasibility of Smarter Energy grids including storage, direct supply, monitoring and controls for renewable energy projects that benefit communities and projects that can address fuel poverty. It will explore the feasibility of community renewables post feed in tariffs and develop case studies for 10 projects across Rural Wales.
The project is looking to work with 10 projects across Wales to develop detailed business plans.
These plans will explore the feasibility of using Smarter Energy solutions for renewable energy projects. We will work with the selected projects to explore Smarter Energy solutions and help to model the chosen technologies. There is also support for technical advice and for visits to relevant exemplary projects.
Reduction of Feed in Tariffs has made most conventional community renewable energy projects unviable. Smarter Energy will invest in research and capacity building, looking at:
- Direct supply
The project steering group is comprised of:
- Farmers and landowners with known capacity for renewable energy generation;
- Community Renewable Energy Generators;
- LEADER Groups – Cadwyn Clwyd, PLANED and LAGs active in LEADER renewable energy projects;
- District Network Operators – Scottish Power Energy Networks and Western Power Distribution:
- Ethically based energy supply companies;
- Those with expertise and experience in assisting community scale energy generation – e.g. the Green Valleys Trust , Community Energy Wales and Severn Wye Energy Agency.
Sustainable agriculture and natural resources
PLANED set up the Pembrokeshire Sustainable Agriculture Network as a forum for farmers and landowners to discuss ideas and develop opportunities relating to sustainable agriculture. It promotes farming practices that protect and enhance soil structure, biodiversity and landscape, adapt to climate change, recycle waste, and produce or use renewable energy.
It promotes diversification of farm enterprises, and cooperation between farmers and other elements in the county’s economy, including food, tourism and energy. Since the Network was set up in 2006, over 50 seminars, workshops or farm visits have been organised, with a focus on sustainable agricultural practices and on the advice and financial support that is available to farmers.