This research examines energy solutions found at the local level – “Community Renewable Energy”, or CRE. This research presents findings from 21 studied communities in the developed world (concentrating on North America, Europe and Australia) who are generating electricity and heat energy in their communities using renewable resources. The importance of incorporating a Strategic Sustainable Development (SSD) approach is highlighted. It helps CRE projects avoid creating unintended negative impacts, which is incorporated in a Sustainable Community Renewable Energy (SCRE) Tool for communities, created as a result of the research.
11 in-person interviews were conducted in eight communities in Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and administered surveys to 14 communities from Canada, US, Australia and Europe. After analyzing CRE data, a Strategic Sustainable Development approach to CRE was applied and a Sustainable Community Renewable Energy Tool for communities was produced to support them in establishing CRE projects and moving towards sustainable energy generation.
This research demonstrates how renewable energy generated on a local scale is one of the key solutions to the current global challenges, but that it is also vital for renewable energy projects to be developed by or with close involvement of local people, and to ensure a local community experiences benefits.