Experienced community energy businesses can now apply for grants of up to £100,000 through the Next Generation Programme.
Businesses have until 13 January to express interest in the scheme, which was designed to help the sector innovate and deliver more holistic and integrated local energy services.
The programme is funded by charitable trust Power to Change and will be delivered by eight consortium partners, including Co-operatives UK. The other partner organisations are Centre for Sustainable Energy, Low Carbon Hub, Everoze Partners, Community Shares Unit, Co-operative Futures, Social and Sustainable Capital, and SFW Communications.
“Co-operatives UK will be supporting groups to develop their community share offers, and from next year we’ll be taking the lead in launching a peer mentoring element. We are delighted to be working alongside such experienced consortium partners to support community energy businesses,” said James de le Vingne, head of the Co-operatives UK development unit.
As part of the programme, ten community groups will be receiving grants of up to £100,000 to work on new business models for community energy in their area. Projects need to be completed by June 2021.
Since 2015, Power to Change has allocated over £45m to community energy support and helped over 40 community businesses working on sustainable energy including Bristol Energy Cooperative, Grimsby Community Energy and Repowering Brixton.
“The way we generate, store and use energy is in the midst of a transformation as significant as the invention of the steam engine was to the industrial revolution,” said Will Walker, Power to Change’s community energy programme and investment manager.
“Governments across the globe have committed to significant reductions in carbon emissions that will require rapid and far-reaching changes to all aspects of society. Bold new ideas are needed, and this fund will not only encourage much-needed innovation, but will also put power into community hands. Ultimately we want to create resilient clean energy communities that can generate their own income, meet their local needs and are less reliant on fossil fuels and global energy markets.”