A new government strategy has been launched to give communities greater control of energy bills.
Under the plans, greater support will be available for people joining forces to reduce energy consumption, collectively purchase energy or generate their own.
Key points include:
-A £10m Urban Community Energy Fund targetted at urban communities in England to develop renewable energy projects via an application process. Grants of up to £20,000 will be available for feasibility work, and £130,000 to cover planning applications and develop business plans needed to leverage further investment
-Extra £1m support for the Big Energy Saving Network for third sector organisations helping the most vulnerable reduce their energy consumption
-A community energy saving competition offering £100,000 as an incentive to communities developing innovate ways of reducing energy costs
-A new one stop shop offering information on community energy projects
The renewables industry has also pledged to work towards greater shared ownership whereby communities take significant stakes in solar and wind farms. An industry task force is due to report back to climate change minister Greg Barker this spring with a framework and timetable for implementation.
“The Community Energy Strategy marks a change in the way we approach powering our homes and businesses – bringing communities together and helping the save money, and make money too,” said Greg Barker.
“We want more consumers of energy to become producers of energy and in doing so help break the grip of the dominant big energy companies.”