Essex County Council (ECC) is championing Community Energy Groups


This Community Energy Fortnight, Essex County Council (ECC) is championing Community Energy Groups across the county and encouraging residents who are interested to join or start their own local energy group. 

To combat climate change, ECC is committed to finding effective and innovative strategies to reduce emissions, promote renewable energy sources, and engage residents to take action on climate change. 

In November 2021, ECC unveiled its Climate Action Plan outlining how the authority was going to reach net-zero by 2050, committing £200 million to achieve this.  In July 2023, ECC committed an additional £50 million to the plan, bringing the total to £250 million. The Climate Action Plan is based on the recommendations of the Essex Climate Action Commission’s Net Zero report.   

The aims of the Climate Action Plan reflect the Council’s strategy Everyone’s Essex, of which one of the four priority areas is ensuring a high-quality environment for all in Essex.  Both the plan and Everyone’s Essex promotes collaborating with communities and local businesses to support on carbon emissions reduction and protect our natural environment.   

A part of this includes increasing investment in renewable energy so that communities can generate their own clean energy and reap the environmental and financial benefits. 

Community Energy in Essex 

ECC collaborates closely with Community Energy South (CES), a hub that supports community energy groups across the South East of England. ECC was the first authority to partner with CES on its Pathways programme, an award-winning scheme that enables local authorities to support the delivery of climate change strategies, partly by facilitating the development of community energy groups. 

This close partnership between ECC and CES has enabled various community energy groups to grow and thrive across Essex. 

Essex is home to 21 Community Energy Groups including: 

  1. APACE Community Energy 
  2. Basildon Community Energy 
  3. Brightlingsea Community Energy 
  4. Colchester Community Energy 
  5. Dengie Earth Matters 
  6. Elsenham Eagles Community Energy 
  7. Hadstock Community Energy 
  8. Harlow Community Energy 
  9. Jaywick Community Energy 
  10. Littlebury Energy Project 
  11. Maldon Community Energy 
  12. PACE Manningtree 
  13. Saffron Walden Community Energy 
  14. Steeple Bumstead 
  15. Sustainable Danbury 
  16. Sustainable Stansted 
  17. Thaxted Eco Group 
  18. Tollesbury Climate Partnership 
  19. Transition Town Greater Clacton 
  20. White Colne Community Energy 
  21. Wicken Bonhunt 

Each group has been successful in individual and in shared ventures and here are examples of projects groups have been involved in. 

Saffron Walden Community Energy

Saffron Walden Community Energy secured funding to provide free energy saving advice free to community members with the appointment of a Community Energy Champion. Part of this funding included £20,000 from the Essex Climate Action Challenge Fund, which was created by ECC to inspire community projects across the county and champion climate action. The advice focuses on both reducing energy bills and reducing residents’ reliance on non-renewable energy. 

The Littlebury Energy Project aims to decarbonise a whole village in Saffron Walden and transform it into a sustainable community that benefits from clean energy. Saffron Walden Community Energy held the Eco Open Day and Open Homes event earlier this year which showcased examples of energy efficiency and retrofit with three open-homes in Littlebury. In May 2024, the project received £40,000 in government funding for a study into low carbon heating for the village. 

Tollesbury Climate Partnership

The Tollesbury Climate Partnership’s (TCP) flagship project is the decarbonisation of Tollesbury Primary School. Retrofitting works included installing a ground source heat pump and solar panels. The project was awarded over £400,000 in grant funding from Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) Phase 3b resulting in a 90% reduction in the school’s emissions. Additionally, TCP raised £250,000 with a community share offer which helped encourage residents to support the project and bring about significant change to the village’s carbon footprint. 

TCP also runs an annual thermal camera loan scheme which enables residents to identify cold spots within their homes. Future projects for the group include working with ECC to establish a Rooftop Solar project to reduce residents’ energy bills and reliance on fossil fuels. 

Community Energy Colchester

Community Energy Colchester has undertaken 29 retrofit assessments for council tenants which has resulted in 22 homes qualifying for energy efficiency works.  By July 2025, the group hopes to have identified and retrofitted over 100 properties. Additionally, Community Energy Colchester has been instrumental in improving over 1500 properties in Colchester to be more energy efficient.   

The future for Community Energy in Essex 

ECC is continuing to support existing groups and will support any new groups that emerge in future. 

If you are an Essex resident interested in joining or starting a community energy group, please contact: