Community Energy England and Community Energy Wales announced the winners of the 2018 Community Energy Awards at the Arnolfini, Bristol on Friday 19 October. The awards were sponsored by Bristol City Council and Co-op Energy. This award was sponsored by Power To Change.

The winners of the Collaboration Award, which looks for the most commendable collaboration between community and commercial/public/third sector partners, was Energise Barnsley.

Energise Barnsley was setup with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to deliver community-owned renewable energy and heating projects across the borough. The society is community led, with Barnsley Council acting as the custodian trustee. They have always collaborated with other partner organisations.

For its first solar project, Energise Barnsley collaborated with Ignite Social Enterprise Fund, and Charity Bank, in order to initiative, underwrite and fund the delivery of the largest (by number of roofs, 321 council owned homes) community energy solar project in the UK.

In late 2017, Energise Barnsley successfully collaborated with Berneslai Homes and Barnsley Council to explore a peer-to-peer local energy-trading model through the Ofgem Sandbox programme.

Energise Barnsley's third and latest collaboration project is exploring possible demand-side response for domestic tenanted housing, alongside the government’s target of the electrification of heat. A working financial model to enable more solar PV, Air Source Heat Pumps and smart battery installations is one of the community goals of the project. Energise Barnsley attended a BEIS competition guidance day, and subsequently recruited the collaboration partners to its successful bid into the BEIS competition and resulted in funding for the feasibility study. Partners in this project include 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 dual source Air Source Heat Pumps create peak demand in winter, at the same time, grid winter peak demand occurs. With over 600 installed Air Source Heat Pumps at Berneslai Homes properties, when coupled with solar PV, Energise Barnsley recognised that a flexible load behind the meter could be monetised in order to benefit residents, and reduce their electricity bills and carbon emissions.

Energise Barnsley has driven the project, recruiting community members to participate in the feasibility study through an understanding of the project aims. A successful feasibility study, and deliverables report which led to a Phase 2 scale-up funding being awarded in October 2018.

Community Energy England and Community Energy Wales congratulate them on everything they have achieved to date and wish them the best of success with future endeavours.

Ahead of the ceremony in Bristol, an expert panel of judges selected winners in each of the seven categories following an open application process. Mark Billsborough, Head of Renewables and Hedging at Co-op Energy and one of the Community Energy Awards 2018 judging panel, said: “It’s been an honour to judge the Community Energy Awards 2018. I can honestly say that making the final decisions was incredibly difficult. From domestic heat loss surveys to creating large-scale wind farms owned by the community, it’s clear that the impact of groups across England and Wales means more people are able to access the benefits of community energy and make a change for the better in our bid to become a more energy efficient society.”