On this page we have gathered case studies based on all the shortlisted nominees for the Community Energy Awards 2023. You can browse all of the case studies here:
Fuel Poverty Action Award
The Fuel Poverty Action Award celebrates the remarkable contributions of community energy organisations in addressing the multifaceted challenges of fuel poverty and energy efficiency in England.
ECOE’s Healthy Homes for Wellbeing project tackles fuel poverty and promotes energy efficiency measures through extensive community engagement and collaboration with public sector organisations. Their Fuel and Money Saving Advice Service delivers tailored advice, reaching 5418 households in 2022-23, resulting in estimated bill savings of £1,628,000. Their outreach programme includes advice clinics, workshops, and talks, benefiting over 10,000 people. ECOE also provides holistic support, including home visits, easy fit measures, and financial assistance. Through partnerships and training, they ensure vulnerable residents receive the help they need, making a significant impact in urban and rural Devon.
Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) runs a remarkable initiative, Cold to Cosy Homes, offering vital energy advice to vulnerable households in Cumbria. Through in-depth home visits, phone consultations, and drop-in events, CAfS provides tailored guidance to those on low incomes, with health conditions, disabilities, young children, or listed on utility Priority Service Registers. CAfS collaborates closely with partners like Cumberland Council and Citizens Advice, ensuring a seamless flow of referrals and comprehensive support for families in need. The organisation also takes a holistic approach, addressing not only energy concerns but also identifying and referring clients to services that combat social isolation and mental health issues. The Cold to Cosy Homes programme has been transformative. Over 10 years, CAfS has advised 5500 clients and conducted 1800 in-depth home visits. These interventions have resulted in projected fuel savings of £276,251 over a decade. The programme not only reduces energy bills but also fosters warmer, safer homes, decreasing the risk of dampness-related health problems. By empowering individuals to make sustainable changes, CAfS significantly reduces carbon footprints.
In response to the growing concerns of rising energy costs and its impact on vulnerable households, the Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy (WWCE) organisation initiated the 'Keeping Warm This Winter' project during the winter of 2022/23. Led by WWCE's newly recruited Carbon Reduction Champion, the project aimed to address fuel poverty and promote energy efficiency measures in Wiltshire's urban and rural areas, particularly focusing on vulnerable populations. The project's primary goals were to raise awareness about energy efficiency and provide practical assistance to households facing energy-related challenges.
The 'Keeping Warm This Winter' project significantly impacted vulnerable households by providing them with tangible resources, knowledge, and confidence to address fuel poverty. Building on this success, WWCE continues to expand the project, aiming to reach even more individuals in the upcoming winter seasons.
Advancing Innovation Award
This award recognises an innovative project, service or business model through which you are adapting rapidly and successfully to doing things differently in the community energy space.
The Net Zero Terrace Street project, led by Rossendale Valley Energy (RVE), stands as a beacon of innovation in the pursuit of affordable, low carbon energy for communities. Focused on overcoming barriers related to affordability, space constraints, and grid limitations, the project introduces a groundbreaking solution - the Smart Local Energy System (SLES). This system integrates ambient loop ground source heat pumps, community EV car clubs, community storage, solar PV, and local peer-to-peer Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), facilitated by the innovative ‘Fairer Warmth’ app developed by partners, Centre for Energy Equality.
Through partnerships, grassroots engagement, and knowledge sharing, this initiative not only transforms communities but also serves as a model for nationwide replication, ensuring a greener, more inclusive future for all.
Tollesbury, a picturesque village, faced the challenge of climate change. In response, the Tollesbury Community Partnership (TCP) emerged, formed by dedicated volunteers, aiming to curb carbon emissions and promote sustainable living within the village. Their flagship project, decarbonising the local school, became a focal point for their community-led initiatives.
TCP partnered with Tollesbury School, establishing a unique agreement. TCP invested in fabric improvements, transitioning from fossil fuel heating to a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) and solar panels. Successful grant applications, including £414,352 from PSDS Phase 3b, were secured, reducing the school’s carbon emissions by 90%. TCP engaged the community through a time-limited community share offer, raising £250,000. The venture received recognition, gaining the Standard Mark for community shares. Remarkably, even the school children participated, creating a strong sense of ownership and shared responsibility for the project's success.
TCP’s journey exemplifies the power of community-driven initiatives, showcasing how collective determination, innovative financing models, and collaboration with experts can bring transformative change.
In the ever-pressing battle against climate change, community-driven initiatives have proven instrumental. Recognising the potential of community-owned low carbon assets, Repowering London developed Repowering Communities, a groundbreaking Community Benefit Society designed to expedite the deployment of these assets across London. Acknowledging the challenges faced by community groups, Repowering Communities aimed to decouple the installation process from the cumbersome fundraising procedures.
In early 2023, Repowering Communities was officially registered as a Community Benefit Society. Their first installation took place in the London Borough of Newham in October that year, marking a significant milestone. This journey was made possible through partnerships with social impact lenders offering reduced interest rates, emphasising the social impact outcomes generated by community energy projects.
In 2022, after collaborative efforts with the Greater London Authority (GLA), CEL gained access to extensive datasets behind the London Solar Opportunity Map, the London Heat Map, and the London Building Stock Model. With the expertise of data engineer Tim Minshall, CEL integrated these datasets to create the innovative Community Energy Potential Map for London.
The map has identified 20,849 community buildings suitable for energy projects, the potential for 1,126MW solar PV capacity, equivalent to powering 350,000 homes and saving over 200,000 tonnes of carbon annually.
Community Energy London's innovative Community Energy Potential Map stands as a pioneering solution, bridging the gap between community energy groups, building owners, and policymakers. By providing a comprehensive, user-friendly tool, CEL has significantly advanced the cause of community energy in London, paving the way for a more sustainable and empowered future.
Supportive Local Authority award
This award recognises a local authority that has demonstrated exceptional support and commitment to the community energy sector. The nominated local authority should showcase outstanding efforts in facilitating and promoting community energy initiatives within their area.
In response to global climate challenges and in alignment with their Green Future aims, North Lincolnshire Council embarked on the "Enabling a Future for Clean Growth" project. With a commitment to ending their contribution to global warming and becoming net zero in carbon emissions by 2030, the Council utilised a £1.4m Towns Fund grant to support the initiative.
North Lincolnshire Council established the North Lincolnshire Community Energy (NLCE), a community benefit society, to facilitate local community participation in clean energy initiatives. The council's proactive approach not only achieved their Green Future aims but also catalysed positive change, fostering a greener, more sustainable future for Scunthorpe and serving as a beacon of inspiration for communities nationwide.
Essex County Council has been a strong advocate for the growth of community energy in the county. Through a dedicated mentoring program and the support of a full-time Council officer, ECC has facilitated the establishment of four community energy organizations in Essex, with more groups receiving support to launch. It is anticipated that three more groups will emerge by March 2024.
Essex's community energy groups have made a tangible impact by assisting 1600 residents and 200 homes with energy efficiency measures, resulting in significant bill reductions for low-income households and raising £500,000 in grant funding to support local projects.
Essex's community energy programme is linked to the Authority's £250 million Climate Action Plan and aligns with the Authority's overarching goal of creating a network of community energy neighbourhoods in each one of the 12 Districts in Essex by 2035, and working towards achieving net-zero emissions in the county by 2050.
In 2019, Hampshire County Council (HCC) declared a climate emergency and set ambitious targets to be carbon neutral and resilient to a 2-degree rise in global temperatures by 2050. Recognising the significance of community-driven initiatives in achieving these goals, the council prioritised tackling emissions from energy generation and use. Community energy emerged as a solution that empowered residents and delivered multiple co-benefits to local communities.
In a strategic partnership with Community Energy South and the Greening Campaign, HCC secured over £200,000 from the Community Renewal Fund. This funding facilitated the expansion of the Community Energy Pathways work, leading to the establishment of five robust groups by the end of 2022.
Hampshire County Council's proactive approach and sustained support have not only empowered local communities but have also set a precedent for effective collaboration between local governments, community organisations, and educational institutions. By investing in community energy, HCC has not only contributed significantly to its climate goals but has also fostered a sense of community ownership and resilience, paving the way for a sustainable future.
Collaboration in community energy
This award recognises the most commendable collaboration between a community energy organisation and its partners. The nominated collaboration should demonstrate outstanding efforts in supporting and advancing community energy through partnerships, investments, policy advocacy, or various forms of assistance, which have increased community energy activity or impact.
This case study celebrates the exemplary collaboration between four Bristol-based organisations and community groups: Thrive Renewables plc, Aura Power, Bristol Energy Cooperative, and RADE (Residents Against Dirty Energy). Their joint effort and resilience led to the development of the 20 MW Feeder Road battery project. The 20 MW battery, operational soon, will store and deliver 1.5 hours or 30 MWh of electricity, providing crucial flexibility and balancing services for the national and local grid.
This case study serves as an inspiring example of how collective action and innovative models can shape a more sustainable, inclusive future for all.
Since 2016, BHESCo has partnered closely with Brighton & Hove City Council and Citizens Advice on citywide fuel poverty alleviation campaigns. The 'Warmth for Wellbeing' initiative, a hallmark of their collaboration, has supported 645 low-income households by installing energy-saving measures and providing vital in-home advice. BHESCo collaborates with various organisations such as AgeUK and Sussex NHS Foundation Trust to identify and connect those in need, ensuring a comprehensive support network.
By fostering partnerships, sharing knowledge, and empowering others, BHESCo has not only transformed lives by alleviating fuel poverty but has also played a significant role in the broader movement toward affordable, clean energy for all.
In 2022 Sustainable Hayfield embarked on a community energy efficiency project with a goal to enhance household insulation, reduce energy bills, and lower carbon emissions.. At the heart of this endeavour was a dynamic collaboration between Sustainable Hayfield, the primary community organiser, and MEA, the project's prime funder.
A variety of energy-saving measures were installed, ranging from draught seals and LED lights to carbon monoxide detectors. Notably, almost one-third of households received nine or more installations, demonstrating the project's substantial impact on energy efficiency.
This project stands as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration. By building a strong partnership between Sustainable Hayfield and MEA, the initiative not only achieved its immediate goals of energy efficiency but also created a sustainable model for future community-led projects.
Community Energy Together (CET) stands as a pioneering collaboration among five community energy organisations in England and Wales: Shropshire and Telford Community Energy, Kent Community Energy, Yealm Community Energy, Gower Power, and Wight Community Energy. This initiative, supported by CORE, has redefined the landscape of community-owned solar farms. By uniting their efforts, these communities have successfully purchased seven solar farms, significantly increasing community-owned solar energy by 20% in England and Wales.
Community Engagement and Inclusion Award
The Community Engagement and Inclusion Award recognises the exceptional commitment of community energy organisations in England to build sustainable communities through inclusive, long-term, measurable, relevant, and sustainable community engagement.
ECOE's initiative revolves around embedding energy efficiency advice in diverse and disadvantaged communities, focusing on neighbourhoods with low EPC ratings, off-gas properties, high rental rates, and deprivation. Throughout 2022-23, ECOE organised 450 events, clinics, and talks, reaching over 10,000 individuals and providing one-to-one advice to 1,754 households. The initiative conducted 977 home visits and received 2,000 referrals from partner organisations. Additionally, 20 Community Energy Champions were trained, and 521 frontline workers underwent training sessions, enhancing the reach and impact of ECOE's efforts.
Their dedication to inclusivity, innovation, and sustainability has not only transformed communities but has also created a blueprint for future engagement initiatives, emphasising the importance of collaboration, targeted outreach, and continuous learning in community development.
In response to the growing need for community-led renewable energy initiatives, CPRE Peak District & South Yorkshire and CPRE Derbyshire spearheaded the Community Energy Visioning (CEV) project. This initiative, funded by the MCS Charitable Foundation, aimed to promote local and community energy options in rural communities. The CEV process engaged residents in the villages of Woodsetts (South Yorkshire) and Bonsall (Derbyshire), fostering a bottom-up approach to planning renewable schemes based on community preferences.
By fostering inclusivity, innovation, and knowledge sharing, the project not only empowered the communities of Bonsall and Woodsetts but also served as a beacon of inspiration for similar endeavours across the country.
In 2020, the Yorkshire N&E Methodist District embarked on a transformative journey, pledging to achieve Net Zero by 2040. Spearheaded by an in-depth assessment conducted by Prof Simon Pringle, the district set out on a mission to explore sustainable energy solutions across its 200 Methodist Churches.
The district's flagship project, 'Tea and PV,' stood as a testament to their dedication. Through the generous support of the Energy for Tomorrow programme by Centrica and expertise from D3 Associates, seven churches, frequented by 160,000 visitors annually, were equipped with solar panels and battery storage.
The Yorkshire N&E Methodist District's journey toward Net Zero was not just about achieving a numerical target. It was an illustration of how a community-led approach, powered by volunteers and inclusivity, could create a meaningful impact.
Community Energy Champion - Individual
The Community Energy Champion of the Year Award recognises one exceptional individual, in England, who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the community energy sector in 2022/ 2023.
WINNER: Pete West
In 2013, while serving as Dorset Council's Renewable Energy Officer, Pete founded Dorset Community Energy (DCE), a community benefit society that has since become a beacon of sustainability. Under his guidance, DCE has flourished, commissioning 1.5MW of installed capacity, including schools and hospitals, with over £1 million invested by local shareholders. Pete's careful financial planning and transparent communication have made DCE a trustworthy organisation, ensuring affordable renewable power for schools, hospitals, and community groups.
But Pete's impact extends far beyond the confines of DCE. He championed the Energy Local model, leading the establishment of Energy Local Bridport (ELB), England's first Energy Local Club. His relentless pursuit of renewable energy solutions saw him secure funding for a 250kW ground-mounted PV array, approved in a landmark decision in February 2023. Pete's tenacity and vision have paved the way for affordable renewable power in the community.
Pete West's influence doesn't stop at installations and committees; his inspiring presence has motivated individuals, organisations, and entire communities. His honesty, enthusiasm, and extensive knowledge have turned sceptics into supporters, persuading hundreds to embrace local renewables as shareholders, volunteers, and advocates. Pete's leadership, both at DCE and ELB, has created a legacy of community engagement and empowerment.
In the spirit of selflessness and genuine concern for our planet, Pete West has dedicated himself to the highest ideals of the community energy model: honesty, openness, diligence, and integrity. He exemplifies the very essence of a Community Energy Champion.
Community Energy Organisation of the year (Small to Medium)
This award recognises one community energy organisation that has demonstrated excellence across their operations, delivery, impact, engagement, innovation, and contribution to the broader sector. To be eligible for this award,your organisation needs to fall within the turnover range of £0- 100,000.
Derbyshire Dales Community Energy Ltd (DDCE) stands at the forefront of the renewable energy movement in Derbyshire. Established in 2022 as a Community Benefit Society, DDCE has been working relentlessly to combat climate change by fostering rural community-based renewable energy initiatives across Derbyshire.
DDCE collaborates with 17 community energy groups, pioneering the installation of solar panels, hydro schemes, and electric vehicle charging points. Their partnership with the Big Solar Co-op, a nationwide carbon-first non-profit, has opened avenues for large-scale solar projects in Derbyshire Dales, with potential sites boasting up to 1.5MWp of solar electricity capacity.
DDCE's impact goes beyond clean energy generation. Their work has become a catalyst for community engagement and empowerment. By supporting volunteers and community energy groups, DDCE has provided avenues for individuals to actively contribute to the fight against climate change.
In 2023, Grimsby Community Energy (GCE) embarked on its most ambitious venture yet, launching the largest share offer in its history. With a goal to raise £314,000 and install 436 kW of solar PV across six buildings, including key sites of YMCA Humber and CATCH UK, GCE aimed to not only promote renewable energy but also empower local nonprofits and social enterprises. By August 2023, GCE successfully secured funding for two buildings at CATCH and YMCA Humber, enabling these organisations to save significantly on their energy bills.
GCE not only brought renewable energy to their community but also created a sustainable model that supported local nonprofits, empowered businesses, and educated the next generation. In the face of challenges, they demonstrated that with vision and collaboration, communities can be transformed, one solar panel at a time.
CEL's primary objective is to foster collaborations, enhance awareness, and garner support for community energy projects across London. Key initiatives this year include a peer mentoring scheme; enlisting experienced practitioners to provide guidance and support to these budding community energy groups, and an ambitious campaign, #1000projectsby2030, was launched in the Houses of Parliament, advocating for 1,000 community energy projects in London by 2030.
CEL's relentless efforts significantly bolstered community energy endeavours across London. The organisation's initiatives empowered local communities, forged partnerships with key stakeholders, and inspired proactive policymaking. With the establishment of numerous community energy projects, CEL's impact continues to reverberate through London, setting the stage for a sustainable, community-driven future.
Community Energy Organisation of the year (Large)
This award recognises one community energy organisation that has demonstrated excellence across their operations, delivery, impact, engagement, innovation, and contribution to the broader sector. To be eligible for this award, your organisation must have a turnover above £100,000.
Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) is a prominent climate charity with a steadfast vision: a zero carbon Cumbria that is socially, economically, and environmentally enriching for all.
CAfS champions collaboration, steering the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership (ZCCP) and coordinating the Cumbria Sustainability Network. Their approach includes community events, mapping tools, and local partnerships, ensuring impactful climate action. They secured a £2.5m award for ZCCP, driving data-driven strategies for emissions reduction.
Through innovative projects, community engagement, and a supportive work culture, CAfS not only empowers Cumbria’s communities but also sets a remarkable precedent for climate charities nationwide.
Egni Co-op, managed by the charity Awel Aman Tawe, stands as a beacon of sustainable progress in Wales. Their primary mission involves installing rooftop solar panels on schools, businesses, and community buildings. With an unwavering commitment to their community, Egni has installed 5 MWp across nearly 100 sites in Wales, making it the largest rooftop solar cooperative in the UK.
Egni Co-op's initiatives have transformed communities. Beyond financial savings and reduced emissions, their projects have become educational catalysts. By integrating solar energy education into schools, they empower the younger generation with knowledge and enthusiasm for renewable energy, paving the way for a greener future.
Community Energy South (CESouth) is a trailblazing organisation committed to advancing community-driven energy initiatives in England. CESouth's flagship initiative, the Community Energy Pathways programme, has played a pivotal role in connecting 26 Community Energy Groups (CEGs) with local councils. By aligning policies with climate action plans, CESouth has created an enabling environment for sustainable energy initiatives.
CESouth's impact on fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and driving positive change exemplifies their outstanding contribution to the community energy sector, making them a beacon of excellence and a model for others to emulate.
Progress in Expansion Award
This award category aims to recognise community energy organisations that have demonstrated remarkable progress in scale, impact, or range of activities over the 2022/2023 period, no matter their starting point.
YCE underwent a transformative journey over the last eighteen months. The organisation pivoted its focus towards energy efficiency and advice, leading to significant progress and expansion. YCE established the York Energy Advice service, providing invaluable support to vulnerable households struggling with energy bills. With funding from various sources, YCE reached over 850 households, offering advice, support, and energy-saving technologies. Their interventions not only helped families but also resulted in significant energy savings, reducing carbon emissions by 7.5 tonnes annually.
Energy Heroes, a non-profit organisation committed to promoting climate and energy education, achieved charitable status in September 2022. Since then, they have demonstrated remarkable progress in various areas, creating a significant impact on schools and communities nationwide.
A strategic partnership with the British Hydro Association secured funding for expanding the Energy Heroes programme to Rossendale. This initiative, spanning 20 schools over 2 years, reached an additional 6,300 homes, amplifying their impact in a new community.
Egni Co-op has successfully installed 5 MWp on nearly 100 sites in Wales, making it the largest rooftop solar co-op in the UK. With £5m raised from a community share offer and £2.12m from the Development Bank of Wales, they continue to scale up their installations. Last year alone, they saved their sites more than £115k in electricity costs and reduced 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Their recent partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council to install solar on 20 schools and 4 leisure centres exemplifies their dedication to community service.
Sector Support Award
This award category recognises community energy organisations that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to mentorship, training, sharing expertise or other support within the sector.
Community Energy South (CES) has been nominated for the Sector Support Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the community energy sector. CES has demonstrated exemplary efforts in sharing their skills, knowledge, and expertise with other organisations and individuals in the community energy workforce. Their initiatives not only promote professional development and capacity building but also foster connections and collaborations among various stakeholders in the wider community energy sector.
Power to Change has spearheaded initiatives in the community energy sector, notably through their Next Generation programme, which funded trials of alternative energy models and facilitated peer mentoring schemes. They bolstered professional development by creating energy advice working groups and subsidising training programmes, ensuring organisations could effectively deliver services. Moreover, Power to Change fostered collaboration by backing groundbreaking ventures like Community Energy Together and contributing significantly to the Energy Resilience Fund Pilot. These initiatives collectively empowered communities, promoted expertise, encouraged collaboration, and paved the way for a sustainable future in the community energy sector.
Community Energy Connect (Connect) is a groundbreaking platform addressing a significant challenge faced by community energy groups across the UK – the scarcity of time and capacity within their volunteer base. Community Energy Connect stands out as a transformative platform that not only bridges the skills gap within community energy groups but also nurtures continuous learning and professional development. Beyond recruitment, Connect collaborates with organisations to develop targeted short courses, equipping volunteers with essential skills and paving the way for potential careers in community energy.
Climate and Environmental Impact Award
This award recognises community energy organisations that are proactively addressing environmental issues or contributing positively to local environments and biodiversity, and inspiring others through their activities.
CAfS is a pioneering climate charity committed to creating a zero-carbon Cumbria that benefits all its residents socially, economically, and environmentally. Through innovative projects and partnerships, CAfS is actively engaged in education, environmental conservation, and empowering individuals and communities to make sustainable choices.
CAfS continually reduces emissions through projects like Cold to Cosy Homes and Solar Made Easy. Community-driven renewable energy initiatives have been pivotal, with ongoing efforts to engage local communities in energy-saving activities and reduce overall carbon footprint. Through education, innovative projects, and empowering initiatives, CAfS continues to pave the way for a sustainable future, demonstrating that collective action and community engagement can create lasting change.
The Co-op's mission expands beyond mere heating solutions; it aims to reduce carbon emissions and enhance local biodiversity. They achieved this in 2023/23 by transforming neglected woodlands into vibrant habitats, simultaneously reducing fuel poverty and fostering awareness of sustainable practices. The Co-op initiated educational programmes, conducting nature walks, talks, and workshops for locals, councillors, and even Care Ashore residents. Their commitment to public engagement extended to national media, with features in The Guardian and a BBC documentary, highlighting their unique approach and impactful outcomes.
Springbok Sustainable Wood Heat Co-operative stands as a testament to the transformative power of community-driven initiatives. By addressing climate change, enhancing biodiversity, and empowering their residents, they've not only warmed homes but also ignited a sustainable revolution.