Communities at the heart of new fund to boost local growth and energy security

News / Fri 11th Aug 2023 at 07:45am

RURAL and local communities across England will be supported in setting up local energy projects that will provide local jobs and deliver energy security, thanks to a new £10 million government fund.

Both urban and rural communities will have the chance to win a portion of a new £10 million Community Energy Fund – new government grant funding to help communities develop local renewable energy projects. The Community Energy Fund will open to applications in the early Autumn.

This funding will help to kickstart projects including small-scale wind farms and rooftop solar partnerships, as well as battery storage, rural heat networks, electric vehicle charging points, and fuel poverty alleviation schemes – all proposed, designed and owned by local people.

Whether in a remote village or city neighbourhood, the projects will deliver families and business with affordable, secure and clean home-grown energy, while helping homes to manage their own energy consumption to bring down costs and reduce fuel poverty. 

Promoting local growth, surplus money generated from the schemes can go directly back to the community through funding local projects such as community gardens and youth employment groups. 

The fund will act as a catalyst for attracting private investment to scale up projects further down the line, supporting high-quality jobs and growth in the area. 

In turn, this will help deliver on the Government’s ambitions to restore optimism and pride in local communities as we build a better future across the country.

Today’s new Community Energy Fund follows the success of the former Rural Community Energy Fund, expanding the remit to include renewable energy investment for both rural and urban areas.

As with the Rural Community Energy Fund, the new fund will be delivered through Local Net Zero Hubs, which support local authorities to develop net zero projects and attract commercial investment.

The Community Energy Fund will fund projects like Congleton Hydro, which received £73,511 funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund.

Thanks to government funding, the Congleton Hydro project is producing affordable, clean and secure electricity from a local weir – enough to power the equivalent of 60 homes. The project is not only reducing emissions in the area, but its success has also led to the creation of an annual £5,000 fund for local community projects. This has so far funded a re-wilding programme to protect nature in the local area and an educational programme on helping young people to deliver local sustainability. 

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