Power, pride and profits to the people with new challenge

Support for major community renewable energy projects

31 January 2012

In many parts of Europe energy projects are part of the fabric of community life. In Denmark, Germany, and The Netherlands hundreds of thousands of people are members of large co-operatives, or similar community bodies, which own and manage renewable energy generation.

As a result, community-owned wind farms, biomass district heating schemes, anaerobic digestion and hydropower plants are all commonplace. In the UK, however, these types of large-scale community projects are few and far between.

The Community Energy Challenge, a new programme managed by CSE on behalf of The Co-operative, intends to change that. An integral part of The Co-operative’s Clean Energy Revolution campaign, the Challenge aims to provide a jump-start for communities to realise their renewable energy ambitions.

The Community Energy Challenge will provide 12-18 months of enterprise development, mentoring, technical advice and community facilitation for six to eight communities, enabling them to initiate co-operative renewable energy projects at a significant scale (e.g. valued at £1m to £3m and/or rated in excess of 500kW). In addition to CSE’s support, it will also tap into further support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and The Co-operative Bank. The goal is to enable the communities to achieve the next stage: have the projects built and operating.

CSE’s Chief Executive, Simon Roberts OBE, said: “The Co-operative’s new intervention represents a major breakthrough. The Community Energy Challenge gives communities the opportunity to secure the support they need to get serious about developing the larger-scale renewable energy projects that generate real pride and profits for local people.”

The Community Energy Challenge will operate a staged competitive bid process. The deadline for expressions of interest is 17.00 on Wednesday 29 February 2012.

For details, and to download guidance notes for applicants and an expression of interest form, see our Community Energy Challenge webpage (www.cse.org.uk/coopenergychallenge).

Alternatively, call the Community Energy Challenge helpline on 0845 177 1656 (staffed 10.00 to16.00, Monday to Friday, answerphone at other times)

Email: coopenergychallenge@cse.org.uk

Photo: Brian Robert Marshall | reproduced under creative commons

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