Today Community Energy England (CEE) and Community Energy Wales (CEW) have announced the shortlisted entries for the 2018 Community Energy Awards ahead of a ceremony being held on the 19 October in Bristol, where the overall winners will be announced.
The shortlist (see below) demonstrates the breadth of activity and passion that communities have for developing energy projects, tackling climate change and improving their local areas in the face of an increasingly difficult policy landscape.
Community energy works and hundreds of projects now in operation have demonstrated the positive benefit they bring to the social value of their areas, through improving local community assets and providing a source of civic pride.
Will Walker, Programme and Investment Manager for Community Energy at Power to Change commented: “Community energy has a strong base and will continue to evolve. Power to Change is hugely supportive of this sector and is actively investing to develop the market and deliver enhanced community impacts. By sponsoring these awards we are proud to celebrate the work of these incredible groups and individuals who are finding innovative new ways to collaborate and harness the power in their communities.”
As part of the evening’s celebrations, Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibralter, and Robin Webster, Senior Climate Change Engagement Strategist at Climate Outreach, will share their thoughts on continued UK leadership on climate change and the role that communities can play.
The awards ceremony will be preceded by a free afternoon conference, The Energy Transition: Top-Down v. Grassroots, hosted with Bristol Energy Network and Bristol City Council Energy Service. 10 years on from the Climate Change Act, this conference will focus on how communities, organisations and local authorities can work together more effectively to tackle fuel poverty and climate change and will feature a range of speakers showcasing the best community and local energy case studies from across the country.
The conference will particularly focus on how communities, organisations and local authorities can work together more effectively to tackle fuel poverty and climate change. The conference and awards ceremony are taking place during Green Great Britain Week, a new initiative from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Green Great Britain Week is set to highlight the opportunities clean growth offers the UK. This year the week will also mark the 10-year anniversary of the Climate Change Act; explaining the business opportunities clean growth provides, sharing the latest research on the impacts of climate change, and raising the understanding of how business and the public can contribute to tackling climate change. Communities are encouraged to use Green Great Britain Week as an opportunity to share with their friends, neighbours and other local community groups the good work they’re doing to help make their local area a better place to be; lowering carbon emissions, saving money and valuable resources.
Emma Bridge, chief executive, CEE said: “We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Community Energy Awards. Now in its fourth year the awards really do demonstrate the resilience and determination of groups, individuals and organisations to make community energy a reality in their area.”
Registration for the conference and awards is free, and CEE, CEW, Bristol Energy Network and Bristol City Council Energy Service, are encouraging anyone with an interest to attend so they can find out more and get involved with community energy in their area.
Robert Proctor, Business Development Manager, CEW said: “The range of entries once again made shortlisting for the awards a difficult task for the panel of judges. We’ve heard from projects covering the whole spectrum of community energy, from innovative schemes retrofitting buildings to increase energy efficiency, to groups tackling fuel poverty amongst the most vulnerable, and massive solar developments using co-operative models. We look forward to revealing the overall winners in October.”
Emma Bridge continues: “CEE and CEW will be making the case for government to consider how it can make a positive contribution to the community energy sector. Recently government has made it very clear that subsidies for projects won’t continue, so with little in the way of financial help, we’ll be using Green Great Britain Week to reach out to ministers and officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss the need for alternative support for the sector, as well as encouraging our members to talk to their local politicians to address local issues that might be barriers to community groups taking on energy projects.
“Like any other sector, green energy isn’t immune to the austerity cuts, but we are an innovative movement, so we’re finding ways to make community energy projects work despite the challenges. The Community Energy Awards and preceding conference is a chance to celebrate, share ideas and to look to the future.”
More information about the awards, conference and ideas for groups wanting to engage their local MP or others during Green Great Britain Week are available on the CEE website and the Community Energy Hub.
Community Energy Awards – shortlisted entries
Community Renewable Energy Project Award (sponsored by Co-op Energy)
The Schools' Energy Cooperative Ltd:
Schools Energy Co-op, working through a network of local groups and partners, has installed solar panels on 42 schools, including 16 in the past 17 months, with many more installations under development.
YnNi Teg (Welsh for Fair Energy) is a Welsh community energy project in Carmarthenshire that aims to support the local community and other community energy schemes in Wales. The Directors went to great lengths to promote this project including modelling bespoke 'Powered by Wind' underwear in a windy field in Wales.
Community Energy & Carbon Saving Award
C.H.E.E.S.E. Domestic energy loss surveys:
The C.H.E.E.S.E Project - Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts, is a not-for-profit community-led organisation set up with Bristol Green Capital funding to help householders to make their homes more energy efficient. We have developed, over three years of piloting, a highly innovative and low-cost method, using iPhone-based equipment, to identify sources of heat loss in people’s homes by means of internal thermal imaging surveys. This enables us to recommend remedial measures and results in 75% of our clients taking remedial action within three months. Such low-cost actions frequently have a payback period on energy expenditure of one year or less.
Exeter Community Energy - Healthy Homes for Wellbeing:
Healthy Homes for Wellbeing provides valuable free energy advice and home visits for those eligible in Exeter, Mid Devon, East Devon, Teignbridge and Torbay. Home Energy Advisers support the vulnerable and fuel poor at drop-in clinics, events across the region, and home visits, reducing their bills and energy consumption.
Plymouth Energy Community’s Energy Team:
Plymouth Energy Community’s Energy Team has evolved to become one of the country’s leading energy help and support services. Its robust network of referral partners and funding mechanisms has resulted in seven professionally trained advisors providing the best help for each resident. In the last year alone, over £1,335,000 and 5,028,100 kg/carbon have been saved by their interventions.
Springbok Sustainable Wood Heat:
This is a pioneering social enterprise operating a 400kW wood chip based district heating system on the Springbok Estate in Surrey. The project has made a genuine and replicable contribution to the reduction of carbon by switching an oil system to locally sourced wood chip biomass and by introducing energy efficiency measures in the buildings that the system supplies.
Local Authority Partner Award
Greater London Authority - Supporting Community Energy in London:
The GLA’s £400k London Community Energy Fund (LCEF) provides up to £15,000 in grants towards the development of community energy projects. 11 solar PV projects are already benefiting from phase 1 of the scheme and a wide range of projects will be supported under phase 2 (launched August 2018).
Suffolk Climate Change Partnership:
The Suffolk Climate Change Partnership is a highly successful collaboration of local authorities that has led to Suffolk becoming the number 1 county for council owned solar PV and home to a number of pioneering community energy organisations.
The London Borough of Ealing:
Ealing Council has given their time, energy and resources to enable us to install solar panels on seven schools to date, with more to come. The project demonstrates how community energy can be delivered cost effectively and quickly, and shows that this can be replicated throughout the UK.
Community Energy Finance Award
Communities for Renewables CIC:
Communities for Renewables CIC’s purchase and finance of the 9.3MWp Wick Farm solar project and creation of Burnham and Weston Energy CIC demonstrates how multiple funders and partners can be brought together to deliver a community energy generation project at-scale, achieve significant community benefits and incorporate democratic community governance.
Community Owned Renewable Energy Partners:
Community Owned Renewable Energy Partners is a pioneering investment programme working to build the community energy sector through facilitating community ownership of operational solar farms, whilst maximising the financial, environmental and social impact generated within the local community.
Mean Moor Wind Farm:
In July 2017 a consortium of three community energy co-operatives acquired the recently commissioned 3 turbine 6.9MW Mean Moor Wind Farm near Ulverston, Cumbria from its commercial owners, who had bought it from the developers. The acquisition was complex and its funding involved bridging finance and two bond offers. Mean Moor is next to the community owned High Winds wind farm, and they are now being operated together. With five turbines between the two sites and a combined capacity of 11.5MW, this has created one of the largest community-owned renewable energy projects in the country.
The Thrive Community Energy Funding Bridge:
Thrive Renewables funding model ‘The Thrive Community Bridge’ is a response to the growing desire for community owned renewables. Thrive deployed already over £12 million of investment through this model. The bridge funding gives communities the time they need to raise their own funds through local ‘crowdfunding’ or a bank loan.
Social and Sustainable Capital’s Renewable Energy Portfolio and Strategy:
SASC provides innovative and flexible financing, playing a crucial role in ensuring that community organisations benefit from renewable energy projects, and enabling significant local social impact. We balance financial return and community benefit, to meet the core objectives of the community groups we support.
Collaboration Award (sponsored by Power to Change)
Acquisition of West Country Renewables:
Cornwall’s first community-owned energy co-operative Community Power Cornwall has acquired a wholly owned subsidiary West Country Renewables Limited for approximately £1.34m. This is the first time a Cornish community energy society has bought an existing commercial company and is a significant step for community ownership of energy generation in Cornwall.
The Energise Barnsley demand side response project in homes with air source heat pumps, a smart battery and solar PV has EB as project lead, for a domestic DSR BEIS competition. Energise Barnsley is the community group leading the collaboration which includes, Oxford Brookes University (academic partner), Sonnen Technologies (commercial battery partner), Upside Energy (commercial aggregator), Northern Powergrid (DNO partner) and Berneslai Homes (tenant housing association).
The project is exploring possible demand side response for domestic tenanted housing residents, alongside the government’s target of the electrification of heat.
Energy4All is a co-operative currently of 23 trading and successful community renewable energy organisations, each of which is independent but co-operates through Energy4All to deliver more effectively their project management and administrative needs and their common mission of increasing community owned renewable energy generation.
Please note the Community Energy Champion and Young Champion award nominees and winners will be announced at the ceremony.