Co-operatives are gearing up to support this year’s Community Energy Fortnight, which aims raise awareness of community energy offerings.
Building on the success of last year’s events, the second campaign takes place from 13 to 28 September. The main sponsor is Co-operative Energy, with support from the Co-operative Group, Co-operatives UK and Energy4all. These co-operative organisations are joining others in the Community Energy Coalition (CEC), such as Friends of the Earth, National Trust, National Union of Students and the Transition Network, arnd are led by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future.
Last year the Fortnight gave people the chance to visit community energy projects in their local area, such as wind farms and solar parks. Those interested in finding out more about community energy could also attend energy efficiency workshops.
Ramsay Dunning, group general manager at Co-operative Energy, said community ownership of clean energy projects empowered people while enabling them to keep the profits generated within their community.
He said: “We are at the forefront of sourcing our power from community energy providers. Following on from last year’s event, the world’s first Community Energy Fortnight, we were keen to assist in making this year’s event even more successful.
“We will also be encouraging our hundreds of thousands of customers and members to get involved as well. We know they are strong supporters of Co-operative Energy’s low carbon sourcing policies, and would like to see a more vibrant co-operative and social economy in the UK.”
Giles Bristow, director of programmes at Forum for the Future, added: “Following on from the success of the world’s first Community Energy Fortnight last year, we are genuinely excited about Co-operative Energy taking such a central role in supporting this year’s event. Their mission to provide as much sustainable energy as possible by sourcing power from community energy providers makes them the perfect partner to help us build the momentum behind this burgeoning sector.
“The Fortnight is inspiring people across the UK to do something really positive to build a more sustainable energy system from the grassroots up, and the CEC is working hard to create the right conditions for it to flourish so we can help bring our members’ vision of more resilient communities to life.”
To mark the Fortnight, Co-operative Energy will be hosting a community energy conference on 13 September at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, where a panel of experts will discuss on community-based energy projects and their benefits.
Set up in 2011, the Community Energy Coalition has a combined membership of several million. In 2013 the group helped raise a 60,000 signature petition asking the government to support community energy. The CEC has also contributed to the government’s first ever Community Energy Strategy launched earlier this year, which looks at the role communities can play in helping to meet the UK’s energy and climate change challenges.
As part of the Fortnight, a number of other events will take place across the UK, including workshops, conferences and share offer launches. For more information about the Community Energy Fortnight and how to get involved, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.ukcec.org.