We can choose to buy electricity (and some gas) from renewable sources (see Buildings). However, we can also get involved in electricity generation (often through solar PV) on our buildings or local sites. When a home, school, farm, office, factory, hospital is powered by on-site or local solar or wind power, the electricity is low carbon. In addition, it’s also local, meaning that no money is leaving the area to pay for power generated elsewhere.
Having locally generated electricity (and there are some heat initiatives too) is open to all, through community energy schemes. Here local people can invest even a small amount in a community-owned scheme. Therefore such schemes are another way of people coming together to strengthen connections and create more resilient communities.
Simply having an awareness of the energy that has gone into refining, processing, manufacturing or transporting all those things that we buy can affect our choices.
Everything has so-called ’embodied’ energy, which is often unseen and is likely to have come from fossil fuels.
For a business, an energy audit will reveal ways that energy is being embodied in what is being produced, and how manufacturing and business processes, and transport, can be modified to use less energy.
Above all, the most direct contact most of us have with energy choices is in choosing the supply of energy for our homes and for transport.