DECC unveils new Community Energy Strategy

As part of an effort to help communities tackle rising energy costs in a more effective and efficient manner, the Department of Energy & Climate Change has drawn up a set of proposals that will enable the Government to broaden the support available for community energy projects, whereby people come together to reduce their energy use or purchase and generate their own energy.

The drafted proposals include the creation of a £10m Urban Community Energy Fund to kick-start community energy generation projects in England, as well as £1m Big Energy Saving Network funding to support the work of volunteers helping vulnerable consumers to reduce their energy.

Additionally, the Government will launch a community energy saving competition, offering £100,000 to communities to develop innovative approaches to saving energy and money, as well as a “one-stop shop” information resource for people interested in developing community energy projects.

Current government estimates would suggest that energy generation schemes involving local communities, such as installing solar panels on social housing buildings, could supply enough electricity for 1 million homes by 2020.

Plus, community shared ownership schemes with renewables developers could also become an important future part of ensuring that local people reap the financial and social benefits of energy developments built in their area.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker said:

“The Community Energy Strategy marks a change in the way we approach powering our homes and businesses – bringing communities together and helping them save money – and make money too.

“The Coalition is determined to unleash this potential, assist communities to achieve their ambitions and drive forward the decentralised energy revolution. We want to help more consumers of energy to become producers of energy and in doing so help to break the grip of the dominant big energy companies.”

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