A group of experts and enthusiasts held a community energy event on September 28th 2023 in Stroud. The aim was to look at current levels of activity on this in the Constituency and start to plan how we can increase it. Expert speaker sessions explored different funding and ownership models, as well as solar PV, wind, or water turbine options. These were followed by a discussion and Q&A aimed at identifying opportunities and barriers, with substantial audience participation.
The need for planning permission changes and community engagement were identified as two key areas of focus, alongside public ownership, and benefits for local people. There was a call to mobilise quickly around a suitable project to create momentum. Full meeting notes here
What is community energy and what are its benefits?
“Community energy refers to the delivery of community-led renewable energy, energy demand reduction and energy supply projects, whether wholly owned and/or controlled by communities or through a partnership with commercial or public sector partners.” Definition from Community Energy England.
It generates local cheaper and cleaner energy and helps build local support for action on net zero. Current schemes across the South West are delivering this plus community funds which are being used for example to retrofit homes.
Local examples of this are Minchinhampton School and Hub where Gloucestershire Community Energy Coop has installed solar PV funded by local shareholders. In effect they have leased the roofs, and the buildings are getting cheaper electricity, which is locally produced and funded.
There will now be a meeting of local energy experts to home in on the best options for community energy. There will be an update on the options in the New Year (2024).
Nailsworth CAN is looking at what can be done and if you would like to get involved in your area and want further information email: EnergyForStroud@gmail.com.
A Community Energy Action Group was active 2018-2019 previously. Below are are the records kept from that group’s work.
Role of the group
Presentations from the 12th June Workshop