Ready for RCEF event "superb"

“Brilliant access to a range of really useful advice”

28 March 2014

Eleven rural community energy groups gathered in Bristol’s urban heart on Tuesday 18 March. They were getting expert help on preparing their applications to the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF).

RCEF is a £15m funding initiative supporting community groups who want to develop low-carbon projects in rural areas. We want to help groups through the application process, and support them as they think through their plans.

Hosted on the 12th floor of 1 Redcliffe Street, home of event hosts TLT LLP, groups were distracted from the panoramic views by what was described as the "superb" surgery-style advice on offer from a host of energy-related experts. It’s no wonder they focused their efforts on quizzing the experts, having travelled from as far as Sussex, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire; Yorkshire, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Devon.

Groups found the day “inspirational and thought-provoking” and found their one-on-one conversations with experts most valuable, appreciating the “informed advice freely available” and “access to knowledgeable experts”.

However, it wasn’t just the technical experts that made the day superb – community representatives found it “great to meet other groups with similar aims”.

CSE’s Local and Community Empowerment Team wish to thank the experts (see below) who advised the groups and freely gave up their valuable time, but also the groups themselves who shared their experiences and made the day a positive and productive experience for everyone.

Surgery format

The day ran in a similar format to speed dating: following a quick introduction, groups had four sessions of around an hour each with the experts who were on hand. They had workshops (not presentations) with:

  • RCEF coordinators WRAP, who advised groups on the funding application process.
  • CSE’s Bridget, Kieran, Morgan and Rachel advised groups on involving and consulting their communities and pre-RCEF feasibility checks – building upon our PlanLoCaL programme.
  • Staff from Triodos Bank provided financial advice, helping groups understand the complexities of raising finance and ensuring their projects were bankable.
  • Bristol-based environmental consultants Eunomia advised the many groups interested in developing anaerobic digestion projects.
  • Event hosts and legal experts TLT LLP shared their wisdom on the legal considerations groups should be making before applying and during their project's development.
  • A wind energy expert from DNV GL, potentially the world’s largest renewable energy consultancy, supported groups interested in technical viability for wind projects.

Further support

There's more information here about all the support that CSE, TLT and Triodos can offer to groups considering or developing an RCEF application.

If you would be interested in attending a similar day of workshops in Bristol this summer, please contact us to let us know; if there’s enough interest, we will do our best to secure funding for another event. Email communities@cse.org.uk.

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