Shortlist announced for Community Energy Award

Nominations 'capture the innovation, passion and expertise that are key to the success of community energy projects'

Community Energy England (CEE) and Community Energy Wales (CEW) have announced the shortlisted entries for the 2019 Community Energy Award.

They say the shortlist for the award – which will be presented on 18 October at City Hall, London, “captures the innovation, passion and expertise that are key to the success of community energy projects”. 

The schemes shortlisted are all playing their part in tackling the climate crisis; supporting local people to be more energy efficient, enabling access to clean, green energy; and giving more people greater control over local energy generation.

Josh Brown, renewables manager, Co-op Energy, said: “By sponsoring these awards we can play a part in celebrating the hard work, dedication and innovative spirit of the groups and individuals that are delivering world-class energy projects with people, not profit, as their motivation.

“These projects are often using cutting-edge technologies, attracting investment and trialling new ways of working. We’re proud to be a part of these awards.”

As part of the evening’s celebrations, Andrew Simms, author, political economist and campaigner will address the event. Andrew devised ‘Earth Overshoot Day,’ marking the point in the year when we start living beyond our ecological means, and coined the term ‘Clone Towns’ describing the homogenisation of high streets caused by chain stores.

New Scientist magazine called him a ‘master at joined up progressive thinking’. He is co-director of the New Weather Institute, coordinator of the Rapid Transition Alliance, assistant director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, a research associate at the University of Sussex, and a fellow of the New Economics Foundation. 

Emma Bridge, chief executive, CEE said: “We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Community Energy Awards. Now in its fifth year the awards really do demonstrate the resilience and determination of groups, individuals and organisations to make community energy a reality in their area. 

“We’re grateful to have received support from the Greater London Authority to be able to host the awards in such a fantastic venue. But more importantly we acknowledge their commitment to community energy across London through supportive policies and funding.

“Community energy groups across the country know better than most the impact of poor policy decisions. We will be using these awards to highlight the benefits community energy delivers despite the challenges being faced, and we will be calling for better central government support in the future, including access to Social Investment Tax Relief for community energy projects.”

The ceremony will be preceded by a free afternoon conference and networking session looking at some of the most innovative projects in the country and how replicable these projects could be. 

Robert Proctor, business development manager at CEW, said: “The shortlisted organisations, individuals and partnerships rightly deserve praise. Particularly at a time when both funding and central government support has been in short supply.

“Just imagine if we could replicate these exemplar schemes across the country? The potential to benefit more communities and build energy resilience is huge. We look forward to revealing the overall winners in October.”

The shortlist

Collaboration Award

Thrive Renewables: Thrive’s Community Benefit Programme is a collaboration between Thrive Renewables plc. and the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The partnership manages a grant scheme offering up to £4,000 to local community buildings close to Thrive’s renewable energy projects. Grants are awarded for energy efficiency improvements, improving warmth, comfort and monthly running costs for users. 

Riding Sunbeams: A start-up social enterprise on a world-leading mission to power our railways with community solar. Riding Sunbeams aim to connect enough unsubsidised, community- and commuter- owned solar to the rail network in the South East to power one in every ten trains. 

Community Energy & Carbon Saving Award

Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative: A small co-operative with only four full time members of staff, it is remarkable what BHESCo have achieved in just four years; 52 energy projects delivered, 670 energy audits completed, 1,500 customers advised, and annual CO2 savings of 441 tonnes. 

Carbon Coop & URBED – People Powered Retrofit: A collaboration between Carbon Co-op, a trusted community energy intermediary, aligned with the high-quality technical expertise of worker co-operative design practice URBED to create a compelling householder retrofit service and kick start the development of new local energy efficiency markets in Greater Manchester and beyond. In year one estimated savings are 60 tonnes of carbon and 250,00 kWh of primary energy; next year estimated savings are 130 tonnes of carbon and 650,000 kWh of primary energy. 

CREW Energy: This has achieved a community energy first by installing a building management system as an innovative heat energy saving measure at Devas Club, a youth community centre in Wandsworth, South London, as well as a LED lighting scheme. The system is forecast to cut energy usage by 25%. These two measures will cut carbon by 11.72 tonnes per annum and save Devas £3,400 on their energy bills. 

Community Energy Finance Award
Electricity North West – The Electricity North West ‘Powering Our Communities’ fund, was launched as part of a stakeholder- led community and local energy strategy, it aims to support local community energy projects, in particular those that demonstrate how they can help develop new business models, engage communities in energy issues, support vulnerable customers and/or reduce fuel poverty. 

Friends Provident Foundation, which has been deploying its capital and influence to accelerate the transition to a decarbonised, decentralised and democratised energy system with community energy at its heart. Its considerable support has included: grants to national and ground-breaking local groups; investments in community projects; and engagement with energy utilities, other investors, and policy makers. 

Power to Change, whose CORE programme invests in solar farms on behalf of communities. So far, it has purchased six solar farms, and is working to transfer them into full community ownership. Power to Change’s Next Generation programme is a £1m+ fund and expert support programme to pioneer innovative community-led energy ideas. 

UK Power Networks: A £300,000-a-year community investment fund, which supports initiatives that combat fuel poverty, improve the energy efficiency of community spaces and support people in vulnerable circumstances. The fund is administered in partnership with leading energy justice charity, the Centre for Sustainable Energy. 

Community Renewable Energy Project Award

Egni Co-op, which has secured the Feed in Tariff subsidy for rooftop solar panels on over 250 sites in Wales that will have an installed capacity of over 5,000kW – which is the largest roll-out of rooftop solar in Welsh history! Sites include businesses, community centres and universities.

North Kensington Community Energy: Community-owned solar energy in Kensington and Chelsea. By involving residents from the outset and engaging schools, community centres, charities and the Council, NKCE is creating a people-centric route to create a zero-carbon borough in the heart of London. 

Ynni Ogwen: -Ynni Ogwen is committed to increasing community owned renewable energy and working innovatively for the benefit of the community, economy and environment. To date they’ve generated just over 1GWh of renewable energy, which equates to 383066 tonnes of carbon savings. Ynni Ogwen has been a catalyst for developing more projects and has raised  members awareness of sustainability matters. They have invested 10k in a new sustainability project in the area and are contributing to wider environmental projects within the valley including the development of an electric community transport scheme.

Environmental Impact Award

Energy Garden, which is working to turn London’s rail network green. To date, Energy Garden has installed 35 community gardens on stations across London, engaged with 124 community groups, educated 2488 school children across London, created habitats for hedgehogs, bats, bees and birds and provided paid-accredited training for 25 16-24-year olds. 

Naturesave: This innovative project uses thermosolar beehives in a ground-breaking bee conservation study that also highlights the significant potential for community solar farms to help tackle the biodiversity crisis.

Green Wedmore: Through the work of Green Wedmore the village is already well on the way to reducing its carbon footprint, with its car charging points, community solar paddocks, freecycle days, repair café’s, community woodland and solar and battery on the village hall. The village has been mapped and will now be using the research to drive to a new zero carbon parish by 2030. They believe in working together as a community to find ways to reduce their environmental impact.

Local Authority Award

Bristol City Council: BCC has had a long history of supporting community energy. It has notably run a successful fund (Bristol Community Energy Fund) offering loans and grants to community organisations for energy projects. This has been a catalyst to kick starting further programmes allowing it to become a more resilient, more inclusive city.

Greater London Authority: The GLA’s £400k London Community Energy Fund (LCEF) provides grants of up to £15,000 towards the development of community energy projects. 31 community energy projects are already benefiting from LCEF and more will be funded under phase 3 in 2019. 

Islington Council: The Islington Community Energy Fund distributes local Carbon Offset monies to local community groups, in particular, projects that are innovative and help address fuel poverty. To date, this has funded 31 projects, saving 121 tonnes carbon, generating 300,000 kWh of energy and saving £40,000 per annum for community groups. 

Social Impact Award

Repowering London, which secures environmental, social and economic benefits to some of London’s most deprived areas through democratic renewable energy schemes. Their reach stretches from the local, where they make communities stronger, houses warmer and bills cheaper, to the national, where they influence policy and open doors for the wider sector. 

The Low Carbon Hub: A social enterprise that’s out to prove that we can meet our energy needs in a way that’s good for people and good for the planet. They build renewable energy projects and donate 100% of their surplus to community benefit to further tackle climate change. 

South East London Community Energy: SELCE uses a range of innovative business models to create positive social impact across their South-East London community. Its fuel poverty work tackles the hard to reach, by training trusted individuals, and their new projects look at reaching the able-to-pay market, empowering homeowners to take practical action. 

In this article

Join the Conversation