ClimateXChange has reviewed the current and projected economic benefits of expanding community and locally owned renewables in Scotland.
We used a survey of operational community renewable energy projects in Scotland to provide technology-specific income and cost savings figures. Given the limited sample size of this survey and the assumptions necessary to extrapolate from this, our results should be seen as illustrative of the scale of the economic benefit to community and locally owned renewable energy projects in Scotland.
We estimate that the renewable energy capacity operational in January 2012 provided an illustrative annual net income of £42 million to community and locally owned organisations. (‘Income' here means both direct income from energy generation and cost savings). Within that total, our analysis suggests that total net incomes to the category “Community groups” are approximately £5 million per year.
Over the anticipated operational lifetime of existing and projected community and locally owned capacity, our estimates suggest that this could translate as a total net income of £1,932 million and total gross income of £3,361 million. In 2012 value terms, this equates to between £1.3 and £2.2 billion.
However, it is important to bear in mind that the evidence base here is very limited and we recommend a national database to gather more robust economic data.