The Co-operative Community Energy Challenge

Looking to set up a community-owned renewable project? Need some help? Then the Community Energy Challenge could be just what you’re looking for.
The Community Energy Challenge is a bold new initiative by The Cooperative that will support a powerful set of community energy projects and help unleash a clean energy revolution across the UK. The Co-operative is seeking six to eight ambitious communities keen to develop projects that involve local people, change the way we think about energy, and inspire others to shape a renewable energy future.
The Community Energy Challenge will provide 12-18 months of enterprise development, mentoring, technical advice and community facilitation for six to eight communities, enabling them to initiate co-operative renewable energy projects at a significant scale (e.g. valued at £1m to £3m and/or rated in excess of 500kW). This support is being delivered by the Centre for Sustainable Energy on behalf of The Co-operative Group and aims to bring the selected community projects to a state of readiness for further support and investment from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and The Co-operative Bank.
The Community Energy Challenge offers a supported application process designed to help communities develop strong project proposals, even from a standing start. Lack of technical know-how should not be a barrier and communities with ambition are encouraged to apply.
The Community Energy Challenge will operate a competitive bid process. All applications will be carefully evaluated and the final selection made by an expert panel.
The deadline for expressions of interest is 29 February 2012. See for more details.

Government Looses FITS Appeal

The government has lost its appeal to the High Court against a ruling that its plans to lower the rate of Feed-in-Tariffs on photovoltaic systems installed after 12th December 2011 was unlawful.
The judgement means that the Department for Energy and Climate change will not be able to go ahead with plans to cut the FIT rate from 43.3p to 21p for installations up to 4 kilowatts in size made after this date. Instead, the cuts will apply to installations completed after 3rd March 2012.
The government’s original plans were ruled unlawful because a consultation on the proposal to lower the rate of FITS ended 11 days after the proposed cut-off date.


Free Solar Panels For Schools

British Gas is taking applications for the second round of their Solar School programme – on a first come, first serve basis.
This is an opportunity for Solar PV panels to be installed at no cost to the schools. Panels will be paid for by the ‘Energy for Tomorrow’ fund. Schools will be able to benefit from:
  • Reduced annual energy bills*
  • Reduced carbon emissions* 
  • Pupil’s awareness of using energy sparingly and creating it from renewable sources
* Based on like for like energy consumption over the relevant comparative periods
The energy company hopes to install systems between 4kWp and 50kWp in up to 150 schools.
This year’s scheme is on a first-come first-served basis. Schools on the Phase-1 reserve list will NOT be automatically carried-forward, they must apply for the Phase-2 scheme.
Schools taking aprt will not be eligible for the Feed-in-Tariff. Instead, this will be assigned to the British Gas Energy For Tomorrow fund which is paying for the installation for the purposes of this scheme. This is an independently run, non-profit organisation dedicated to developing renewable energy sources and technologies for the future. Schools will benefit from being able to use the electricity generated which could mean electricity and carbon savings as a result of needing to buy less electricity from an energy supplier.
The scheme will take applications on their website until 23.59 on Friday 10th February 2012:

Different Politics, Same Planet

A new report by WWF-UK and Oxfam argues that governments must lead a shift in values if we are to transition to a sustainable economy. The report’s author’s believe that public support for government action on the environment is built upon the same values that underpin public concern for the NHS or universal education.

Guide to the Co-operative Renewable Energy Sector

The first co operatively-owned wind turbines, Baywind in Cumbria, started turning in 1997. Since then, over 7,000 individual investors have ploughed over £16 million into community-owned renewable energy.

A new report summarises insights gained from visits to five co-operatively owned energy projects during the summer of 2011. It will be of interest to anyone thinking of starting a community or co-operative energy initiative as well as intermediaries such as business and energy advisers, policy and decision makers with an interest in renewable energy and community ownership, and members of existing energy co-operatives.