A new project to support the growing community energy movement is being launched today by Regen SW funded nationally by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation with additional support being made available in Devon by Devon County Council.
The initiative will support communities to generate, own and save energy.
The Community Accelerator Project will work with at least 30 communities directly and countless others through publicly available training and tools.
Over the next few weeks Regen will be selecting 30 communities from over 200 in their network and over 5,000 groups nationally. They will be looking for community groups who want to engage their whole community and who need technical expertise to find the most appropriate sites and renewable technologies.
Community groups in Devon who apply will also be eligible for up to £5,000 grant funding each. This money can be used to pay for start-up assistance from legal fees to community engagement and lots in between.
Regen’s chief executive Merlin Hyman said: “Community energy has huge potential as an enabler for communities to generate sustainable income and local jobs. Communities such as Bath, Wadebridge and Plymouth have shown what can be achieved – now we want to support the aspirations of all those who have been inspired by these trailblazers”.
Lizzy-Jane Frankel from Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network said: “Community energy projects can help energise and bring together communities. Finding creative ways to enable everyone to engage in the issues builds and sustains community energy initiatives, and can have real impact on the way they are received and adopted.”
Devon County Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Community and Environmental Services said: “We know that over £300m and £400m is spent on energy in the north and south of Devon respectively, all of which disappears out of the local economy. Continuing our support to community energy groups will help build firm foundations for communities to work together to generate their own energy.”
The project will enable community energy groups to better engage their whole communities and increase the number of people in their core group enabling them to maintain momentum and draw in skills from within their own communities, rather than rely on limited and competitive funding. The project will also provide groups with access to expertise and good data to enable them to focus their efforts on realistic projects.
If you would like to find out more or to book a place at a Regen event on the 23 September in Exeter, or 25 September in Plymouth, visit www.regensw.co.uk/communities, or contact Jodie at Regen firstname.lastname@example.org.