Community energy groups across England can benefit from a new peer support programme to develop new innovative business models.
The Next Generation Community Energy Peer Mentoring programme is open for applications until 15 March 2021 and aims to harness the skills, enthusiasm and expertise of the community energy sector.
Managed by Co-operatives UK in partnership with Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), the programme is funded by Power to Change. The organisations are also working with Community Energy England (CEE).
“We are proud of the many democratically owned community energy organisations doing incredible work across the UK,” said James de le Vingne, head of Co-operatives UK’s Development Unit.
“Co‑operative values and principles create the ideal conditions to collaborate and share learning. This programme offers an exciting opportunity to develop even more inspiring and innovative community owned energy projects.”
The programme is open to community energy groups developing projects that are innovative, aim to be self-sustaining business models, create positive community impact and can be replicated in the future.
Up to 40 groups will receive peer mentoring support to develop and test their ideas on behalf of the community energy sector; successful applicants will be matched with an experienced community energy mentor and receive up to four days of peer mentoring support between March and September 2021. Mentors will include co-operatives such as Brighton Energy Coop, Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co‑operative, Carbon Co‑op and Green Fox Community Co‑operative.
“The successful groups will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Green Fox Community Co‑operative, working to supply locally sourced, low-carbon, low-cost heat and electricity and energy services to schools in Leicestershire,” added Mr de le Vingne. “These projects are making a huge difference to people and the planet.”
Will Walker, programme and investment manager on community energy at Power to Change, said: “We believe communities must play a prominent role in the move to a net zero carbon society and there are huge local benefits – financial, social and environmental – in doing so.
“Through the Next Generation programme we have been able to support new schemes and bold ideas around the country that aim to deliver zero carbon outcomes. We are now excited to be able to share the learning and challenges through structured peer to peer support. Our hope is this will enable the sector to accelerate the development of new innovative community energy projects and avoid reinventing the wheel.”
For more information and to apply, visit next-generation.org.uk/peer-mentoring. The deadline for applications is midnight 15 March 2021.