Closure of Urban Community Energy Fund

But many successes to point to

14 July 2016

Readers will probably already know that the Government closed the Urban Community Energy Fund on 5 July.

UCEF was administered by CSE from its launch in November 2014, and was designed to financially support ambitious community energy projects through their development phase to the point at which they were a sound proposition for a bank or other financer to back the project's construction.

The first thing to emphasise is that although there will be no further funding rounds, existing grant holders will continue being supported by CSE. (Please click here for a Q&A that should answer any questions you have. You can also contacted us at info@ucef.org.uk or on 0800 038 6345.)

Rachel Coxcoon, CSE's head of community engagement said: "This is something of a hammer-blow to that part of the  community energy sector which is focussed on developing community-owned energy infrastructure.

"But, despite its early demise, UCEF has had an impact. In the past 20 months we have awarded £1,197,000 in grants to 75 different projects across England. More than 5MW has already been installed and there are still 50 projects in the pipeline so expect more capacity in the months and years to come.

"And huge credit to all the groups we've worked with. There are some truly inspirational projects out there, and some dedicated and skilled volunteers."

A recent success for UCEF is the work done by Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) and Four Greens Community Trust who recently completed a solar farm large enough to supply around 1,000 homes with power.

The Ernesettle array (above, affectionately known as Ernie) stands on a brownfield site obtained from Plymouth City Council as part of an asset transfer to make land available for community benefit projects.

Early in the project's development, UCEF provided a grant to assess the feasibility of the plan.

PEC’s Helen Griffin said: “The Urban Community Energy Fund was instrumental in getting this project off the ground. Right from the start, it gave us the opportunity to engage with the local community and demonstrate the positive benefits of locally owned renewable energy.”

Click here for stories of community groups from Liverpool, Hartlepool and Reading who made successful bids to UCEF

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