Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF)

A £10m boost for large community energy projects

Project duration: December 2014 ongoing

Update: DECC has announced that the Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) will close to new applicants from today (5 July 2016). Existing applicants are not affected; all successful grant applications will be honoured and CSE (the fund administrator) will continue to provide support. 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.

This page will be updated in due course.

Click here to read about some of the successful applicants.

CSE is delighted to be co-administering (with Pure Leapfrog) the government-funded £10m Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) which was launched in November 2014.

The scheme funds community energy projects through their development phase, to determine viability, and to get them ‘investment ready’ – i.e. a sound proposition for bank or other financer to take the project through the construction phase.

It does this through both grants and loans. The maximum grant is £20k and the maximum loan is £130k. The loans are ‘contingent loans’, which means they don’t have to be paid back if the project can’t proceed to construction phase. Successful projects will pay back their loans, so replenishing the fund.

Forthcoming application deadlines (for both grants and loans) are the last Friday of May, July, September and November 2015, and the last Friday of January and March 2016.

Is my community group eligible? 

UCEF was set up to complement the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), so to be eligible for UCEF funding your project must be based in an urban area (as defined by the Office of National Statistics). Whether you are in a rural or urban area can be less obvious than it sounds, so we've created an eligibility map that tells you if your project is urban or rural and if you need to apply to the urban or rural fund.

Click here to go the eligibility map: www.cse.org.uk/ucef-eligibility-map.

Your project must also meet other criteria concerning the structure of your group and the project you have in mind. We've put together a short document (the eligibility checker) that will help you check if your group is eligible in principle to apply to UCEF. 

Click here to download the eligibility checker.

It may turn out that your application to UCEF will not be successful unless you adapt it; we can help with this, so please get in touch. In fact, we encourage all applicants to contact us, to discuss their proposals and ensure that they submit the strongest application possible.

We're available during office hours to answer questions about UCEF on 0800 038 6345. Alternatively, see our FAQs on this page: www.cse.org.uk/ucef-faqs

Other useful documents

Introduction to State Aid
Introduction to getting your project ‘investment ready’

Community energy videos
These films were made by CSE in 2011 but are still essential viewing for groups considering making an application to UCEF.

General introductions to the main renewable energy technologies
Hydro power: an introduction (7 mins)
Heat pumps: an introduction (5 mins)
Wind: an introduction (11 mins)
Biomass: an introduction (6 mins)
Solar power: an introduction (9 mins)

Once your project team has settled on a technology, but before you go any further ...
Solar power: things to consider before starting a project (6 mins)
Biomass district heating or an Esco: things to consider before starting a project (8 mins)
Wind: things to consider before starting a project (7 mins)
Hydro power: things to consider before starting a project (8 mins)
Heat pumps: things to consider before starting a project (4 mins)
Anaerobic digestion: things to consider before starting a project (9 mins)

Finally, some of the critical issues behind a sucessful community renewable energy project:
Managing a community project (12 mins)
Running a community consultation (9 mins)
Becoming a legally recognised entity (5 mins)
Getting planning permission (12 mins)
Project finance (3 mins)

Application form

Download the application form here (MS Word)

We're available during office hours to answer questions about UCEF on 0800 038 6345. Alternatively, see our FAQs on this page: www.cse.org.uk/ucef-faqs

Contact details

Email: info@ucef.org.uk
Phone: 0800 038 6345
Website: www.gov.uk/urban-community-energy-fund

Successful UCEF applications

Below is a map showing some of the successful UCEF applications received to date. Click on a pin to find out more about that group.

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