Local Authorities and Net Zero

There is huge potential for local authorities and community energy organisations to work together to pursue common local goals and the benefits offered by the community energy sector. This is a page collated to help interested Authorities explore the potential for these exceptional energy partnerships.

Showcasing the power of these collaborations, we have the picture of Hollybush Primary School: one of 12 schools that went solar in a frontrunning £25 million community energy collaboration, between Leeds City Council and community energy organisation Solar for Schools. All schools in this project received long term cheaper energy prices plus 100% of profits returned to the school from the sale of electricity. This story captures one of many examples avaliable in our case studies section, celebrating the value and impact community is bringing across the country. 

This guide procuded by Ashden has some advice and tips for community energy organisations on partnering with councils, and making the most of your relationship. Including tools you can use when working and partnering with councils. 

Benefits offered by these colloborations

  • local leadership
  • local wealth building 
  • creating net zero jobs 
  • community behaviour change and motivation 
  • added value to local authority investment 

To help Authorities navigate first and next steps in the sector, we also offer these 3 steps to success: 

Step 1 - Find what exists already

If you are interested in coordinating with community energy to help you meet urgent goals such as local regeneration, efficiency and retrofit, fuel poverty alleviation and net zero, the best place to start is to see if any community energy projects may already exist in your area. You can do this through CEE's NEW national map database

Step 2 - Consider some easy to start, Green Go programmes! 

Next, you may want to consider some of the bespoke programmes designed to work with Local Authorities specifically. These can be partnered with even if you find you have no community energy in your area. 

  • Locally-owned solar (funding may not be required) - solar pv is one of the most mature areas of the community energy sector, with many organisations working in partnership with local authorities to deliver small and large scale solar programmes. Many of these organisations are able to offer full funding for projects to be delivered, as well as offering co-finance or options to fund projects with local authority grants and borrowing. See our solar page for more information on these solar opportunities through the sector. 
  • Community Energy South Pathways programme (authority funding required) - for authorities interested in a more holistic approach to capacity building for community energy, Community Energy South's Pathways programme to designed to work in partnership with Local Authorities to support new community energy groups and projects across an area, through multi year capacity building and group mentorship. For more information and enquires of interest, visit the Pathways Programme website.

Step 3 - Finally, consider your support for existing groups 

If you have community energy groups or projects already in your area, you may also want to consider the following to help support them in their work: 

  • Speak with local groups - See what you can offer, office space, asset transfer, ease with planning, connections in the locality? You may even be able to provide direct funding for projects - check out the CEE Local Authority funding database to find latest funds that exist for you to leverage and support groups.