Renewable Energy Advice Service (REAS)

Increasing public understanding and acceptance of renewable energy

Project duration: November 2002 to March 2005

The aim of this project was to increase the number of community-scale renewable energy systems installed across CSE's core area (Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire).

Behind this aim was the objecting of increasing public understanding and acceptance of renewable energy, to help develop the market and to enable communities to harness local social and economic benefits from such projects.

Specific objectives of the project were:

  • to provide telephone advice and support to householders in the REAS area who are looking for information about renewable energy
  • to work with local authorities, community groups, small businesses, schools and other key stakeholders to assist in developing ideas for community-scale renewable energy projects. Support includes assistance with applying for funding for feasibility studies and capital costs, site visits to advise community groups, working with schools and presentations about sustainable energy

CSE actively worked with the nine local authorities in Bristol and Somerset. The intiative, one of six pilots in the UK, was funded by the Energy Saving Trust (EST)

The householder service went live in November 2002 and was delivered by the Bristol & Somerset Energy Efficiency Advice Centre.

Householders received telephone advice about different types of renewable energy: e.g. solar water heating, solar PV, biomass, small-scale wind and hydro, and ground source heat pumps. The service sent out technology fact sheets, signposted people to sources of funding and referred them to relevant suppliers.

The community advice service went live in July 2002. It involved:

  • running seminars on different renewable energy technologies for local authority staff and councillors
  • attending events and making presentations to community groups
  • providing support to community groups to develop project ideas and to prepare funding proposals to tap into regional and national funding sources

The REAS pilot network ran until the end of March 2005 when the Energy Saving Trust discontinued the funding. The REAS generated over 18,000 enquiries from householders, community groups, local authorities and businesses.

CSE can still provide renewable energy advice to community groups, local authorities, schools and businesses. Click here for further information.

To speak to someone about home energy advice in Bristol or Somerset, please call CSE's Home Energy Team (freephone) or email:

You can also follow us on twitter: @cse_homeenergy.

For further information contact:

Martin Holley | 0117 934 1419

Stay up to date with our work - sign up for our fortnightly newsletter