Community Energy Awards 2016 – the winners

Community energy organisations from around the UK – including co-operatives – have been recognised at the 2016 Community Energy Awards. Organised jointly by Community Energy England and Community...

Community energy organisations from around the UK – including co-operatives – have been recognised at the 2016 Community Energy Awards.

Organised jointly by Community Energy England and Community Energy Wales, the awards celebrate inspiring community groups, local authorities and collaborations that are making a positive difference to the sector.

The ceremony took place on 3 September in Oxford, following the Community Energy Conference, which marked the beginning of the 2016 Community Energy Fortnight. Six awards were given out in total, and delegates also heard presentations from Rt Hon Edward Davey and Leonie Cooper, Chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee.

The Community Renewable Energy Project Award for the most commendable sustainable electricity generation project undertaken by a community group was awarded to Awel Aman Tawe, a community energy charity based in South Wales. Since 1998, the organisation has been developing and advising on community schemes, including wind, solar, biomass and hydro, and has its own community wind farm and solar PV co-operative, Egni. The judges also highly commended another Welsh organisation, Ynni Anafon Energy.

Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative scooped the Community Energy Saving Award for the community group which has undertaken the most inspiring energy conservation or management project, and Plymouth City Council received the local authority partner award for its work helping local community energy organisations through partnering, investing and other support.

Naturesave Trust and Naturesave Policies Ltd took home the Community Energy Funding award in recognition of their work to help bring investment to the sector, and Alistair MacPherson of Plymouth Energy Community was named 2016 Community Energy Champion.

The collaboration award went to Cyd Ynni [Energy Together], a network of five community energy organisations organised in collaboration with the National Trust Wales. The award was picked up on the group’s behalf by the National Trust’s Keith Jones, who gave his biggest thanks to the five founding community companies of Cyd Ynni – Ynni Anafon, Moelyci, Ynni Padarn Peris, Coedtir Mynydd and Ynni Ogwen – who are “driving good things forward”.

“Cyd Ynni is about delivering for all by grouping our skills, opportunities and ambitions into local employment, cost savings, accessing funding and multipliers in marketing and fundraising to deliver for each community group,” he said.  “I was really surprised that we had won but also confident that what we have started in NW Wales will continue to grow!”

The award winners were decided by a panel of expert judges comprising Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Chris Blake (Green Valleys CIC and Community Energy Wales), Ramsay Dunning (Co-operative Energy), Jon Halle (2015 Community Energy Champion joint winner), Merlin Hyman (RegenSW), Anne-Claire Leydier (Northern Powergrid) and Anna Watson (Friends of the Earth).

Sir Ed Davey speaking at the 2016 Community Energy Awards
Sir Edward Davey speaking at the 2016 Community Energy Awards

The final member of the panel was Sir Edward Davey, the former LibDem MP and secretary of state for energy and climate change (2012-2015), who also spoke at the awards.

While he was energy secretary, the strategy document on community energy was downloaded more times than all other energy strategy documents put together. “Community energy is popular,” said Sir Edward.

In terms of policy and lobbying, the former MP said the sector needed to aim to keep the best of what it had, while being realistic.

“We need to be clear about what we want in terms of energy asks – but we need to present them in a language accepted by this government.

“We have a struggle on our hands, but we can do it if we pull together … I think we are the future, but we need to convince others and take them with us.”

  • For more details about the awards, and the full shortlist, click here.
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