Community Energy is a broad term which refers to a project where a group of people, usually from a defined geographical area come together to carry out a project aimed at either reducing energy consumption, purchasing energy or generating their own energy for the benefit of the community members.
Schemes can range in size from the small scale, such as those offering advice on energy efficiency and saving, to large scale schemes to generate energy from local renewable sources.
Community energy projects could include:
Collective purchasing of such fuel sources as oil or LPG to secure a better price.
Collective switching for mains gas and electricity to secure a cheaper tariff.
Advice and low scale interventions to reduce fuel use, increase energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills through behavior change.
Installing energy saving measures such as condensing gas boilers, cavity and solid wall insulation, loft insulation and smart meters.
Installing renewable energy technologies such as solar thermal and solar PV or setting up an community energy company to generate energy from renewable resources such as wind, water or biological material.
Apart from the most immediate benefits to the community such as savings for householders or profit generated from projects, community energy schemes can bring other benefits such as:
Increased sense of community and greater community engagement and cohesion, enabling communities to tackle a range of social and economic issues in their locality.
Increased local engagement with climate change issues and energy security developing local skills and expertise.
Greater empowerment of individuals to make a difference.
Helping reduce fuel poverty and improve health particularly of vulnerable groups.
Boost to local economic growth and jobs.