REMSOL, a sustainability consultancy based in Preston, says the shale gas industry’s voluntary community benefits scheme could be best used to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency measures for local homes in areas that host fracking sites.
The firm says industry-funded shale gas community benefits could:
*Deliver direct and indirect financial benefits of more than £41,000 for nearby owner-occupiers
*Act as an enabler of renewables and create jobs for local installers, whilst helping to cut climate change emissions
*Boost house prices in areas that host shale gas sites
In 2013, United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) and its members pledged to share one per cent of future shale gas production revenues with local communities. Now, in a policy paper, Remsol sets out a proposal for using the monies to install whole-home renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in local properties.
It estimates that owner-occupiers could access direct and indirect benefits totalling over £41,000, with the scheme also supporting local jobs, cutting household carbon emissions and boosting property values.
Tenants in rented accommodation would still benefit from substantial energy cost reductions.
Lee Petts, managing director at Remsol, says that alongside the broader economic benefits of local supply chain creation and the distribution of monies from the government’s proposed Shale Wealth Fund, investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency would provide local residents with direct, meaningful and lasting benefits.
He said: “Until now, there hasn’t really been a great deal of discussion about just how the one per cent of revenues could be spent. With our policy paper, we wanted to show that it’s possible for substantial numbers of local people to benefit directly from hosting shale gas in their communities.
“Opponents of shale gas regularly say that it will reduce investment in renewables, and lead to increased emissions but, as our paper shows, it’s possible to use the industry’s community benefit payments to actually boost renewables deployment and create climate change benefits.”