CSE and Pure Leapfrog to run Urban Community Energy Fund

Secretary of State makes announcement at Powerup

4 September 2014

Secretary of State, Edward Davey, announced at the 'Powering Up' conference on community energy yesterday (4 September) that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) were moving to appoint the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Pure Leapfrog to administer the Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF). Our partner in the project, Pure Leapfrog, are experts in the provision of social investment to community energy projects.

UCEF is a £10 million fund from DECC that will support non-rural communities in England with grants (up to £20,000) and loans (up to £130,000) to develop renewable energy projects that provide economic and social benefits to residents in the area. CSE will provide overall administration for the scheme and lead on the management of the grant component while Pure Leapfrog will focus on assessing and issuing loans.

It complements the existing Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) which was launched in 2013 and is already providing grants to community groups for feasibility studies.

CSE's Rachel Coxcoon will manage the project. "This is really great news for CSE and puts us right at the centre of the increasingly exciting community energy sector," she said.

"Final details have still to be worked out, but we have started doing some prep work and we look forward to working with ambitious communities up and down the country who are seeking to develop renewable energy enterprises of a significant scale."

Pure Leapfrog’s Head of Project Finance, Richard O’Rourke “Our ambition is to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of finance for the community energy sector, We are delighted to build on our unique expertise as a finance provider and to deliver this risk capital to where it is needed most so that the sector can scale up.”

The launch date for the scheme is not yet confirmed, but we are working hard to establish the scheme by the end of the year. You can read more about UCEF on the .GOV website.

Groups who wish to be alerted when the fund launches should email their name and contact details to communityenergyunit@decc.gsi.gov.uk.

The photo above shows the installation of the 4.35m-long, four-bladed Archimedean screw at Osney Lock close to the centre of Oxford. Osney Lock Hydro was been set up by a group of local residents to enable the development of a community-owned hydro scheme, and is similar in scale to the kinds of project that UCEF will seek to support.

Photo Andrew Watson

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