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Powering up

An evaluation and ethnographic report of the Powering Up project
By CSE and Dr Bradon Smith
April 2021

Can community energy projects build capacity for energy resilience in low-income communities? Powering Up was a project launched by CSE and funded by the Friends Provident Foundation to support the development of community energy projects.

In this exploration, funded by the Friends Provident Foundation, CSE worked with three communities – Duffryn in Newport, Penhill in Swindon and Hamp in Bridgwater. We wanted to learn more about how to stimulate sustained grassroots action on energy.

This is a significant issue as our current energy system undermines local resilience. Poorer households face unaffordable energy bills, unpredictable energy prices and cold and damp homes. The money spent on their heating and electricity leaves the local economy, benefitting national or international energy companies and not local businesses.

There are plenty of resident-led community energy initiatives in higher income area, where people have more capacity, money and resources to run such projects. What would it take to mirror these projects that improve household and community-scale energy resilience in poorer neighbourhoods?

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