Belper group scoops community prize

A community group from Belper, Derbyshire, has come top of the Co-operative’s Community Energy Challenge beating off over 120 challengers.

Transition Belper will now share in £200,000 worth of mentoring, enterprise development and technical advice. The cash will also help the group run a community-owned hydro project in the River Derwent providing clean energy for generations.

Ian Jackson of Transition Belper said: “We are absolutely delighted. The expertise and support will make a significant difference to our aims of exploring and developing community-owned and run hydro power projects.

“We believe that renewable energy and carbon reduction programmes would be great news for communities – giving people a say in the generation of energy locally while delivering wider social and environmental benefits.

“We want to encourage the broadest possible community participation and are keen to hear from members of the public who want to become more involved or, who have ideas about potential sites for hydro power generation.”

The Co-operative’s head of social goals, Paul Monaghan, added: “The Co-operative’s investment can help to unlock the significant potential that community-owned renewable energy has to offer.

“Community energy can deliver local economic and social benefits in addition to helping the UK to meet its energy and climate change goals however, it can encounter many barriers. Through this competition we will share expertise and provide the tools needed to enable communities to overcome those obstacles and allow them to control, generate and benefit from their own renewable energy.”