A fortnight of community energy celebrations, this year headed by Co-operative Energy, began on Sunday 13th September and runs until 28th September. The fortnight will see community energy projects across the country celebrating the ways in which communities are generating, owning and saving energy.
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Community energy: what is it and why should I care?
Ninety-five per cent of the UK energy market is controlled by just six companies. With ever-mounting costs and the threat of climate change, as well as resource scarcity and increasingly volatile international markets exposing the vulnerability of our existing energy supplies, it makes sense for people to want to take control themselves.
The term ‘community energy’ covers a range of collective actions, from saving or reducing usage, to purchasing, managing and generating sustainable energy. It does not include commercially or Government-supported initiatives, nor isolated, individual efforts. The emphasis is very much on projects involving local engagement, leadership and control, especially where there is a benefit to local communities.
What types of community energy projects are out there?
- Initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of a local area
- Community-owned renewable electricity installations
- Community members switching as a group to a renewable heat source
- A community trial of smart meters, to raise awareness of energy use
- And many more…
What are the benefits of community energy?
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
- Improves energy security
- Supports the local economy and creates jobs
- Keeps the profits generated within the community
- Re-connects people with how energy is generated and how they consume it
- Increases public acceptance of renewable energy schemes
Still not convinced? Look a bit closer to home and you will see that Leicestershire is home to a successful community-led energy project.
Green Fox Community Energy Co-operative has led the way in becoming one of the UK’s first community share offer initiatives for a biomass project in a school. Launched in June 2013, the co-operative initially launched a £1 million share but actually generated £572,000 from 195 investor members, which was sufficient to install one wood burning boiler at the school. This replaced the previous fossil fuel burning boiler which was old, inefficient, expensive and high carbon emitting.
To find out more visit: www.greenfoxcommunityenergy.coop/