CSE is supporting a district council to develop community energy activity and to engage and inspire individual citizens of the community to understand their carbon footprint better and invest in a community solar energy project.
Launched as part of the European ‘Green Deal’ initiative, AURORA promotes a citizen led, bottom-up approach to change. Communities from Denmark, England, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain will reduce the carbon footprint of around 7,000 citizens.
The project involves installing community-owned solar on a building in each area and creating the community group needed to own this installation. An app will also be developed to support citizens to track energy use and reduce their own carbon footprint.
A new community energy project in Forest of Dean
CSE is partnered with Forest of Dean district council to deliver the England element of the project. We will contribute our expertise in community energy and supporting the set-up of a community energy group.
We will also support the international project partners bringing expertise in community energy engagement and understanding alongside CSE developed tools like the Impact Community Carbon Calculator.
The international project partners are all based at universities with significant technical solar or behaviour change expertise, but most haven’t been involved in community energy before. CSE brings decades of experience working in the sector and business models that work. We can also share our knowledge of best practice for setting up and running community energy groups.
CSE project manager Meghan Blyth says “We know the most powerful change happens when local people have a say in the adjustments needed to reach net zero in their local area. AURORA is inspiring people to come together and deliver community energy activity in the Forest of Dean.
“Through the solar installation and local workshops, local people will develop their understanding around energy use and carbon footprints, as well as save money on fuel bills and be inspired to make more changes in their own lives.
“The community solar aims to support a local community building, save money on fuel bills and bring other community benefits too.”
Further community energy activity
The project runs for three years and will lay the foundations for further community energy activity in the Forest of Dean. The project also includes activities like running workshops to create bike chargers and energy monitors or creating and promoting a process for local people to report energy waste. These elements will become more defined as the project progresses and the needs and desires of the local community are better understood.
The results from AURORA will be shared with many other citizens across Europe with the goal to start a bottom-up movement for change.
AURORA is a part of the EU’s renowned Horizon 2020 programme. €4.6m will be invested over the next 3.5 years.