Local communities can bid for up to £150,000 for renewable energy projects under a new competition unveiled by the Government today.
It is part of Britain’s first Community Energy Strategy, which aims to enable local groups to take control of their energy bills, reduce their use and generate their own power.
Figures from DECC suggest energy generation involving local communities such as installing solar panels on social housing buildings could supply enough electricity for one million homes by 2020.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey told ELN: “This week we’re working with the third sector such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Groundwork, National Energy Action and others to be out there in the community, helping people, particularly vulnerable people find ways to cut their energy bills by switching tariffs, switching suppliers, investing in energy efficiency and so on. So this is about reaching out to the most vulnerable.”
The strategy also includes a £1 million funding for the Big Energy Saving Network, which will operate all year round helping vulnerable consumers reduce their energy use. It is part of the Big Energy Saving Week which runs from 27th January to 31st January and helps consumers take practical steps to cut their bills by checking they are on the best deal.
Groundwork London was the recipient of the Community Action Award during the project launch, including a £1,500 grant.
Emily Jewell, Senior Project Manager – Energy Services said: “There is strength and interest out there as well within people to take a little bit of control back because every year the energy companies put the bills up and it seems to de-power people and this is a way of empowering them again to make them feel like they are doing something, they’re being very proactive and making a difference to their energy use.”
Since 2008, at least 5,000 community groups have been involved in energy projects in the UK, according to DECC.