What is community energy – And how does it work?

There’s no two ways about it, the challenges of climate change, resource scarcity, and domination of the energy market by the ‘Big Six’ companies are starting to cause huge problems. In response, people across the country are coming together to take control of their energy and establish a more ethical and sustainable system. This is what community power projects are all about.

Here’s how they tend to take shape.

  • Local residents – of a village, town, city or region – join forces in the form of a Community Benefit Society, Cooperative Society or Community Interest Company.
  • The members then raise money through share and bond offers to develop their own local renewable energy project. Solar farms are the most common, but wind farms, hydro power and biogas are all popular options too.
  • Finally, profits made from generation and supply are fed back into local causes, such as alleviating fuel poverty, saving energy and improving the local environment, via a Community Benefit Fund.

Projects like this are popping up all over the world – the UK alone has over 600 up and running with that number continuing to grow – and come in many shapes and sizes. Installations range from a few PV panels on a school roof to a 22-acre solar array, or from a small hydro system to a 5MW wind farm, and can be used to produce on site-power (at a community centre or social club, for example) or to generate energy wholesale for supply. To start finding out what might work best for your community, get in touch here.

Community Energy - What is it