Matlock Town Council and partners land funding to explore community renewable energy scheme
As humanity inched towards the urgent task of decarbonisation at the COP26 summit this week, a pioneering Matlock partnership received good news in its ambitions to generate clean, green energy, owned and run by the community.
Matlock Town Council and Derbyshire Dales Community Energy have been awarded funds from the government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) to explore the possibility of installing solar panels on key buildings such as Highfields School and the Twiggs premises on Bakewell Road.
Charity Pure Leapfrog will now develop a feasibility study to see whether such projects are technical and financially viable.
Councillor David Hughes, who is leading on the town’s climate change initiatives, said: “Community energy is one way at a local level we as a community can reduce our carbon footprint and potentially gain a financial benefit at the same time.
“The council is pleased to be working with Derbyshire Dales Community Energy and Pure Leapfrog on this exciting project, in line with our climate and ecological action Plan adopted in February 2020.”
Richard Tarbatt, managing director at Twiggs, said: “As a long-established family business in Matlock our objective is to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to the net zero target of the district, mitigating our impact on global warming.
“We also aspire to act as a commercial role model for our suppliers and customers.”
There are around 420 active community energy groups in the UK, giving communities the opportunity to invest in projects in their area.
Such schemes offer local people have a stake in their energy infrastructure, with all surplus profit used for community benefit which helps widen their impact.
Stephen Martin, of Derbyshire Dales Community Energy said: “A decisive shift to community-owned renewables could empower and unify urban and rural communities across the district.
“As well as combating climate change, this could enable greater social equality, tackle fuel poverty and fund community causes. The creation of multiple, mutually supportive energy co-operatives can help achieve these transformations.”