AURORA project (Achieving a new European Energy Awareness)

The Centre for Sustainable Energy is a key delivery partner for a new international project empowering people across Europe to take ownership of climate action.

Project duration: December 2021 ongoing

CSE will support a district council to develop community energy activity and to engage and inspire individual citizens of the community to understand their carbon footprint better and invest in a community solar energy project.

Launched as part of the European ‘Green Deal’ initiative, the AURORA project (Achieving a new European Energy Awareness) promotes a citizen led, bottom-up approach to change. Communities from Denmark, England, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain will reduce the carbon footprint of around 7,000 citizens.

The project involves installing community owned solar on a building in each area and creating the community group needed to own this installation.  An innovative app will also be developed to support citizens to track energy use and reduce their own carbon footprint.

CSE is partnered with the Forest of Dean District Council to deliver the England element of the project.  The CSE local and community energy empowerment team will bring expertise in community energy, supporting the set-up of a community energy group.

The CSE team will also support the international project partners bringing expertise in community energy engagement and understanding alongside CSE developed tools like the Impact Community Carbon Calculator.

The international project partners are all based at universities with significant technical solar or behaviour change expertise, but most haven’t been involved in community energy before. CSE brings decades of experience working in the sector, business models that work, along with sharing best practice for setting up and running community energy groups.

CSE project manager Rachel Haycock says “We know the most powerful change happens when local people have a say, understand and are actively involved with the adjustments needed to reach net zero in their own local area. Our work in the AURORA project will inspire people to come together and deliver community energy activity in the Forest of Dean. Local people will develop their understanding around carbon footprints and will be inspired to make more changes in their own lives. The community solar aims to support a local community building, save money on fuel bills and bring other community benefits too.”

The project runs for three years and will lay the foundations for further community energy activity in the Forest of Dean. The project will also include activities like running workshops to create bike chargers and energy monitors or creating and promoting a process for local people to report energy waste. But these elements will become more defined as the project progresses and we understand the needs and desires of the local community better.

 The results from the AURORA project will be shared with many other citizens across Europe with the goal to start a bottom-up movement for change.

For further information contact:

Rachel Haycock | 0117 934 1424


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