Members' newsletter 28th October 2016

My last three weeks has been filled with events which have taken me up and down the country, from our community feast in the North West to speaking at the London Assembly Environment Committee and being involved in a roundtable with Nick Hurd and Rob Wilson MPs about the role of social enterprises in the emerging Industrial Strategy.

Our Community Energy Feast, hosted in partnership with RegenSW, really was just what we had hoped for, a great event with local groups discussing topics which are important to them. It became clear from the event that there are groups around the North West who are working extremely hard to achieve sustainable, community-driven energy. This is why we thought they deserved to let their hair down for a night. You can see photos from the event here. There was also a lot of discussion around innovation and where next for community energy at two RegenSW and Electricity Networks Association events recently, one in Manchester and one in Oxford. We will be working with RegenSW and others to keep you updated with good practice and new ideas over the next few months.

In the next few weeks I'm looking forward to speaking at the Hacking the Energy System event with Carbon Co-op, details of which you can find below, and seeing the results of our member share offers, as some of these are nearing their deadlines in the next fortnight. There is a full list of our member share offers on our website. Finally, I am also looking forward to attending the share offer launch of one of our local members, Sheffield Renewables. It's great to see community energy right on the doorstep of our office in Sheffield. 

Emma Bridge

Chief Executive

Community Energy England

Community Energy Feast

Community Energy England and Regen SW worked in partnership to deliver a feast for community groups in Manchester and the surrounding areas at Chetham's School of Music in the heart of Manchester.

The aim of the evening was to strengthen the local networks of community energy organisations and their supporters. The feast was a great opportunity to raise awareness about community energy and highlight the good work going on locally in the sector to MPs, investors and developers.

The event was generously supported by Electricity North West, Naturesave,  Power to Change and Unicorn Grocery, who donated two vouchers and a hamper, which were up for grabs in a raffle to support the event.

See what happened here


Our AGM Minutes have now been released, please see here for links to minutes and further information.

New Models for Community Energy Series - 10th November Birmingham and 15 November Cardiff 
An event to help you embrace innovative models like local supply, adapt to policy changes, and connect to the grid.  This Regen Communities event supported by Western Power Distribution will help groups to evaluate new business models and funding options, as well as understand how connections are a key element of renewable energy developments and the huge impact and opportunities they can present.

Hacking the Energy System, Manchester - 4 November 2016
Convened by community energy organisation Carbon Co-op in collaboration with the University of Manchester, this one day conference is an opportunity for key players within energy system to discuss the change, challenges and opportunities ahead. The aim of the conference is to share knowledge and experience, catalyse new collaborations and document keys ‘asks’ from the sector around regulatory change. The event will be followed by the Manchester launch of Nobel Grid, a European-wide smart grids project of which Carbon Co-op and University of Manchester are partners. Read more

Other events can be found at 

New Members

We would like to welcome our newest members:

Fal Energy Partnership - A social enterprise whose aim is to raise local awareness and encourage investments in local renewable energy. 

Fratton Big Local - A partnership with the aim of creating real difference in their local community. 

Member news

Assessing Grid Offers
One of our members has recently contacted us regarding an issue with their latest grid offer. The offer contained a clause which appeared to confirm that the DNO could not guarantee capacity and that they could not warrant that National Grid would not impose further conditions at the transmission level including constraint, extra costs etc.

This information took the group by surprise, as it had been understood by many that a grid offer was solid. In this case, the member contacted the DNO who was able to confirm that no such problems applied to this connection. However it raises concerns for other projects, so we would ask members to be vigilant when assessing any future grid offers.

10:10 have launched a new petition, highlighting the disproportion between public support for wind power in the UK and media bias against it. You can sign the petition here, and take a look at their spoof newsletter, The Wind.
Small Wind Co-Op have launched their second share offer, following on from their successful offer which closed this summer. Please see the press release here

Sheffield Renewables have released this press release, which gives details of their upcoming share offer launch. The share offer will be launched on Tuesday 1st November at the Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James' Street, Sheffield, S1 2EW. 

Several of our members have share offers open, for more information, please see here.  

Member quotes - We are looking for some quotes from our members, so if you'd like to tell us what we do that works for your organisation, please email us
Member Literature

We like to showcase our member successes and news wherever possible, so if you have any literature that you would like for us to take to events and circulate on your behalf please forward it to us. You can either email PDF files to Charlotte Heywood, or send them to our registered address, which you can find at the bottom of this newsletter.  

Other News

Co-operative UK's census deadline is 31st October. The aim of the census is to understand member-owned businesses and they are especially seeking responses from community energy owned businesses. You can fill out the census here

The Low Carbon Bike Tour organised by Love your Bike and Manchester Bike Tours, held on 17th September was a great success. The event organisers have created this map, which gives a great view of some of the low carbon sights of Manchester. 

The Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub have launched a community energy innovation project. Funded by BEIS and supported by Oldham Council, the project has awarded four community energy groups grant funding to develop innovative ideas for sustainable community energy business models to give the sector a boost in the wake of cuts to the Feed In Tariff and other subsidies. The outcome will be a toolkit report which will summarise the innovations in a way which makes it easy for other groups across the country to use to develop their own new projects. Overseeing the project will be Quantum Strategy and Technology, who are keen to speak to any community energy groups who want to input into or discuss the project, or have similar examples they can share. You can contact Gill or Louise from Quantum for more information. 

Western Power Distribution are offering grants of up to £1,000 for energy efficiency improvements to community buildings in the Midlands, South West and South Wales. 
The Community Business Bright Ideas Fund are offering community groups tailored support and grants of up to £20,000 (from a fund of £1.85 million) to help communities develop community business ideas. Applications deadline is 30 November.

The third round of  the Power to Change £10million Community Business Fund has opened for applications until 16 December. The fund is aimed at existing community businesses that need funding for a business development project to become sustainable. If you’re interested in applying, have a read of their guidance and register for an FAQs webinar on 10 November for tips to make a strong application.

3ppp are extending a funded (free, rather than £500) invitation to Community Energy England and key members from groups involved in community energy projects to attend The Low Carbon Britain 2016 Event. This National Event is being held at One Great George Street, Westminster, London on the 1st December 2016. Excellent speakers, innovative products and plenty of quality networking + a buffet lunch and refreshments. 

The latest wave of the Public Attitudes Tracking Survey has highlighted what many of you will already be aware of, that most of the public support onshore wind and solar. You can find the key findings, questionnaire, summary tables and full data set here

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