Community energy refers to the delivery of community led renewable energy, energy demand reduction and energy supply projects, whether wholly owned and/or controlled by communities or through partnership with commercial or public sector partners.

By placing democratic control, shared benefits and active participation at the centre of project delivery, community energy can create a foundation for the significant infrastructural and cultural change we need to reduce the impact of climate change and increase our energy security.

Where successful, community energy has the potential to draw people in, not just as consumers but also as active participants, or partners, in a process of change. Partners because people share in the benefits, have some say in how things happen, are actively involved and feel a connection with the outcomes.

Community energy has the potential to do this by creating a sense of collective purpose where:

  • I see ‘People Like Me’ involved, whether family, friends, neighbours, community members, work colleagues
  • I keep hearing about opportunities for involvement through many different local routes, its stops being unusual and becomes ‘What Happens Around Here’
  • I trust the people delivering the projects, I see them around, they’re local
  • I can see tangible benefits for my local area
  • I can see tangible benefits for me

This sense of collective purpose can help to normalise the adoption of demand reduction behaviours and encourage the take up of energy efficiency measures.

If successful community energy can also help to underpin the more rapid role out of a decentralised energy supply system by giving local people a stake in the outcome.

CEE is committed to working with others to move community energy closer to the centre of energy decision making at both national and local levels.

For additional information on what community energy is about please see our board member, Peter Capener's publication.

Our members, York Community Energy, have also given us a definition based on their experiences as a community group.