Community energy challenge

The UK can no longer afford to rely on increasingly expensive and environmentally damaging fossil fuels. Instead we need to accelerate the development of a clean and efficient energy future.

Our goal

We will continue with our Clean Energy Revolution campaign, which seeks to end the use of unconventional fossil fuels and inspire community energy growth.

The Co-operative is campaigning for a clean energy revolution with communities at its heart. We want communities to own, control and benefit from their own renewable energy projects.

The Community Energy Challenge is a bold initiative by The Co-operative to support several community groups to set up and run their own renewable energy schemes. The intended result is a powerful and replicable set of community energy projects across the UK that demonstrate a range of technologies and the benefits of community ownership.

Over 120 community groups came forward to take part in the Community Energy Challenge, showing the appetite for community energy in the country. Seven successful groups were selected who will receive support from the Centre for Sustainable Energy funded by The Co-operative. This will include the assignment of an expert mentor, project planning, community facilitation, enterprise development, technical advice and targeted assistance for costs at the project development phase (e.g. legal fees, planning fees and ecological monitoring).

Find out about our community energy campaigning.

Powering our village

See how a small group of revolutionaries in Cumbria are powering their village. Watch this short film about the Baywind Energy Co-operative, the UK's first community-owned wind farm.

Challenge winners

The community energy projects we will be supporting are:

  • Brendon Energy - will be working with local people to find the best site, or sites, for a small number of medium-sized wind turbines in the ten parishes around Wiveliscombe in Somerset. These will be owned by the community, and all profits will be invested in new energy projects and donated to a fund to benefit the local community.
  • Abergwyngregyn Regeneration Company – is a North Wales community group who are working with the National Trust to investigate a hydro project on the Anafon River. The high-head hydro scheme would have a fall of 230m from intake to turbine, and offers the potential to sustain a 500kW turbine from this local renewable energy source.
  • Towards Zero Carbon Bute – aims to explore and develop community-owned energy projects on the island, and to give people a say in the generation of energy locally while delivering wider social and environmental benefits.
  • Sustainable Oakenshaw – in Co Durham are looking for the widest community participation possible in their efforts to create a community-owned renewable energy project that would bring an income to the local community so they can further invest in improving the area.
  • Transition Belper – want to explore and develop community-owned and run hydro power projects in the Derwent Valley world heritage corridor between Cromford and Derby.
  • Wey Valley Woodfuel – is a Surrey-based community group which is keen to explore an energy project that raises money through community share issues to install biomass boilers and generate free heat energy for community spaces such as schools, churches and leisure centres.
  • M40 Chilterns Environmental Group – an innovative scheme to tackle noise on the M40 and generate clean energy. The group aims to work with the Highways Agency to install combined noise barriers and solar panels on a 20 mile section of the M40 in Buckinghamshire.

There's lots of ways to get involved - find out more.
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