Rural Community Energy Fund

In case you missed this first time around:

The Town Council received a presentation regarding the Rural Community Energy Fund, which is a government grant that enables rural communities to pay for feasibility studies on renewables projects. It will support communities to develop renewable energy products which provide economic and social benefits to the community. An initial grant of up to £20,000 is available and this can cover technical feasibility, community engagement, legal structures, business planning and financial forecasting. The Council supports the scheme whole heartedly but it recognises that it requires input from keen individuals/organisations to take forward and is wanting feedback to gauge whether or not there is sufficient support to progress. If there is enough support the Town Council will facilitate a meeting with a representative from the RCEF. So let us know your thoughts and whether or not you are willing to get involved!

Community Renewable Energy
Rural Community Energy Fund

What is community owned renewable energy?

Many communities are realising the benefits of locally owned renewable energy projects, for local benefit. Renewable energy has the ability to reduce energy use, grow the local economy, improve buildings and generate income for important community services. There is funding available at present to fully fund the development costs of community renewable energy projects.
Renewable energy is very good for the local economy. The majority of money spent on energy is lost from the local area, going almost entirely to the big six energy companies who supply our electricity and gas. If instead this money was paid to a local energy company, owned by local people, it could be recycled in the local area. The benefit of this additional injection of local spend would be increased due to the economic multiplier effect, meaning a stronger, healthier local economy.
Locally owned renewable energy also draws money into the local economy, because it attracts payments for the electricity and heat. Renewable technology also has the potential to save local organisations and businesses money by reducing their energy bills.
The renewable energy systems can be installed and maintained by local businesses, helping to grow the local economy, safeguarding jobs and incomes. The technology also has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and stimulate a reduction in overall energy use.

How does it work?

A community co-op is set up which invites people to buy shares, which raises capital. This capital is used to purchase and install the renewable energy systems. The co-op rents the space for the installations, maintains them and sells the energy to local community organisations or businesses at a discount.
The co-op pays the investors interest and they recoup their investment over time. Any profit can be distributed via a community fund to be used on local projects.
An example of a successful community renewable energy project that members of the Energy Analysis team have worked on is Plymouth Energy Community Renewables. This community owned renewable energy organisation has installed many sets of solar panels on local schools, providing them with cheaper electricity.
At the moment funding is available for community groups to carry out the feasibility and development work necessary for a renewable energy project(s). The fund can be used to cover the technical, financial, governance and community engagement elements needed to progress a project. It is an excellent way of helping communities to kick start and develop renewable projects.
A successful application to the RCEF simply requires a community organisation with a solid idea for a project and a determination to see it through to development. It is about community owned projects, for community benefit.

So if you would like to find out more about community renewable energy projects, or the Rural Community Energy Fund, then please get in touch.
For more information contact Ben Eardley on 07979 344555, by email at ben@energyanalysis.co.uk.

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