The renewable energy industry continues to grow at a pace in the UK, despite an ongoing operating environment of confusion and uncertainty over government policy direction and a broader lack of cohesion. This is likely to have affected growth and reduced investment, but despite this the progress to date has been good.
London Economic published figures last month that showed how the UK had run entirely without the need for coal for nearly six days in the last quarter of 2016. This is the first time that Britain produced sufficient electricity without needing to resort to fossil fuels since 1881.
Additionally, Scottish Renewables has calculated that Scotland is still on track to meet at least half of its total power needs from green sources by 2030.
The news is positive for businesses wanting to save money on their bills and to earn subsidy-based income, and also for communities looking to invest in micro renewable energy projects at a local level for growth, economic benefits and a carbon-free energy supply that offers an additional security of supply.
Many of these community energy projects are run on farmland, which also offers farmers the chance to benefit from an additional income opportunity.
The hope is that, eventually, renewable energy will be produced by local community initiatives that can directly benefit. Contributory factors include the need for battery storage technology to continue to develop. The likelihood too is that this type of project will be more likely to go ahead in the wake of subsidy cuts, as the motivating drivers go beyond simple investment returns for many people.
Many believe that a solar push will occur in 2017 and that micro-hydro and wind turbines will continue to be hot development areas for micro community-level projects.