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- Getting community energy involved in Local Enterprise Partnerships
- The energy system is in flux, let’s ready ourselves for a community takeover
- Celebrating a strong year for energised communities at CfR
- Community Energy at the forefront of disruptive change in the energy sector
- Meet your MP about community energy this Community Energy Fortnight
- We can do more to foster community energy in low-income communities.
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- Community Energy Fortnight Lobbying Pack 2017
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- Community energy is not just what we do, but how we do it - By Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK
- “It's all still to play for" says Co-op Energy's Head of Renewables
- York Community Energy trip round the panels of Auld Reekie with Edinburgh Community Solar
- The Ramblers: Protecting the places we love to walk in a changing climate
- Why Community Energy Fortnight is so important - By Emma Bridge
- CEF17 is Powering Together!
- Community Energy Fortnight 2017 dates announced and news of a new collaboration
- The community energy revolution is evolving, and the future’s bright
- Investing in community energy schemes
- Energising faith communities: the Spirit project
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Celebrating a strong year for energised communities at CfR
The 2018 Community Energy Fortnight's theme is 'Energised Communities'. Nadia Smith, Project Coordinator at Communities for Renewables (CfR), outlines some great examples of energised communities who are tenaciously generating energy, reducing carbon emissions, fighting fuel poverty and improving their local environment.
Those working in community energy will be well aware of the years which pass by quietly working hard behind desks to set up the initiative which will eventually become the energy of the town (literally and metaphorically)! Here at Communities for Renewables (CfR), the collective hard work of the past few years has come to fruition on a number of the local energy enterprises closest to our hearts. We would like to take a moment to celebrate three key new community energy enterprises who have had a successful first year and are blossoming into resilient and sustainable community assets, energising their localities.
CfR has supported these community energy enterprises in a number of areas, from feasibility studies and setup to fundraising and ongoing company management. We encourage any energised local communities with plans of creating a community energy enterprise to approach us for mentoring and support. If you currently manage a community energy enterprise, we can also offer management services to relieve directors/volunteers of the daily administrative and technical asset management tasks.
With the first years share interest payments of 6% made to investors as intended, Ferry Farm has managed to also generate £40,000 in community grants which were awarded over two rounds to 18 local projects. The local initiatives span a range of sectors including arts and theatre, youth work, sports and recreation, wildlife conservation, support for the elderly and more. Ben Cooper, Ferry Farm Community Solar Director commented “We are delighted to announce this first phase of funding, which supports local charities and community groups in Selsey and Sidlesham. As well as providing an ethical investment opportunity for local people who invested in our community share offer last year, the Ferry Farm Community Solar project is also generating community funding from the sale of the electricity generated. So, it really does see investment come back into the local community.”
Ferry Farm also awarded local social enterprise SelseyWorks a £20,000 grant to tackle fuel poverty, which is an increasing problem in the area. The grant aims to total £60,000 over three years and will deliver a fuel poverty initiative offering support on insulation, efficient energy use and staying warm. The team will also provide help and support with switching suppliers and information on domestic renewable energy schemes such as fixed price Solar PV panels. With a higher than average proportion of older people in the area, home visits will be available to ensure that those most likely to benefit will not miss out. Sam Tate, Selsey Town Coordinator and Project Manager for SelseyWorks, commented “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant to help us help local families. SelseyWorks is focused on providing much-needed resources and facilities for local people and this initiative will help ensure that our residents have access to all the information and support they need to reduce their fuel bills and avoid making tough decisions such as choosing between heating or eating.”
As detailed in the first annual bondholder report for Gawcott Fields, the solar farm generated enough electricity to reduce carbon emissions by around 1,500 tonnes of CO2e this year – this equates to almost 4.7 million car miles! They also successfully raised £420,000 from social investors through the bond offer in June 2017 and refinanced their short-term construction loan through Santander and Social and Sustainable Capital (ethical investment fund).
Additionally, the BEE Warm fuel poverty scheme launched in September 2017 in partnership with The National Energy Foundation and Citizens Advice Aylesbury Vale. In just the first three months the service supported over 40 households and trained staff. The support provided includes energy supplier switching, disputes resolution and debt clearing, grant funding for loft and cavity wall insulation and new boilers, installation of small energy efficiency measures and information on energy management. Gawcott Fields is also launching its community grant fund of £10,000 per year, with the set theme of sports initiatives for the first year, administered by the Heart of Bucks Foundation.
One of the largest community solar farms in the UK! 9.3 MW Wick solar farm was purchased from the developers and taken into community ownership by CfR, setting up Burnham and Weston Energy CIC which will service the surrounding parishes. It is expected to generate over £3.5 million surplus income over its 25-year lifetime, with £50,000 per year dedicated to a community grant fund and fuel poverty campaign. The community grant fund is to be managed by local charity Somerset Community Foundation, and energy and fuel poverty advice service delivered in partnership with Bristol-based Centre for Sustainable Energy. Two local directors are also to be appointed on launch of the bond offer today! The bond offer allows people to invest and have a say in governance of the company, and for the local community to become actively engaged in their local energy economy. See the offer here.
CfR is a community interest company, meaning all profits are reinvested into its operations in supporting the growth of the community energy industry. We love sharing sector news and industry innovation, so keep us up to date with your research and projects – tweet us @cfr_cic and follow us on Linkedin.