AIM: To support a set of community energy projects and to catalyse a clean energy revolution across the UK.
BACKGROUND: The Co-operative has recently announced the ‘Community Energy Challenge’ initiative as part of their ‘Clean Energy Revolution’ campaign. The Challenge is seeking six to eight ambitious communities keen to develop projects that will: involve local people; change people’s thinking around energy production and consumption; and inspire others to shape a renewable energy future. In response to expressions of interest to participate, 123 community groups submitted proposals, up to 30 of which will be shortlisted and asked to provide a full bid. Key factors being considered by the selection panel include: the cooperative nature of the project, renewable resource availability, and evidence of broad community support and involvement. Successful projects should be informed by the end of May 2012.
STATUS: Currently in planning stages.
ACTIVITIES: The Challenge will provide 12-18 months of enterprise development, mentoring, technical advice and community facilitation for six to eight communities, enabling them to initiate cooperative renewable energy projects at a significant scale (for example, valued at £1m to £3m and/or rated in excess of 500kW). This support will be delivered by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, on behalf of The Co-operative Group, with the aim of bringing selected community projects to a state of readiness for further support and investment from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and The Co-operative Bank. A mix of technologies is anticipated, including for example wind, hydro, solar PV, biomass, and anaerobic digestion.