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Community groups with bright ideas for energy innovation to benefit from new peer support

News item

Published
19th January 2021
Last updated
20th January 2021
Topic
Co-op development
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Next generation – community energy

Community energy groups across England will benefit from a new peer support programme to help develop new innovative business models.

Community energy groups across England will benefit from a new peer support programme to help develop new innovative business models.

The Next Generation Community Energy Peer Mentoring programme aims to harness the skills, enthusiasm and expertise of the community energy sector. Funded by the independent trust Power to Change, the programme will encourage shared learning in order to replicate business models and support genuinely sustainable, financially viable and innovative community businesses focused on environmental innovation.

If you're not ready to be a mentor, but could benefit from mentor support, look out for the second phase of the programme. Community energy groups developing innovative projects will be able to apply to receive peer mentoring support in late February. Working in cohorts, they can share learning and experiences – a total of 40 groups will receive support.

This new initiative builds on the Next Generation programme that is supporting 11 new schemes, which include community smart lighting, harvesting solar power to charge electric vehicles, and a dedicated energy saving service for local schools.

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“We believe communities must play a prominent role in the move to a net zero carbon society and there are huge local benefits – financial, social and environmental – in doing so.
– Will Walker, Power to Change

Will Walker, Programme & Investment Manager on community energy at Power to Change says:

“We believe communities must play a prominent role in the move to a net zero carbon society and there are huge local benefits – financial, social and environmental – in doing so. Through the Next Generation programme we have been able to support new schemes and bold ideas around the country that aim to deliver zero carbon outcomes."

"We are now excited to be able to share the learning and challenges through structured peer to peer support. Our hope is this will enable the sector to accelerate the development of new innovative community energy projects and avoid reinventing the wheel.”

Initially the programme is looking to recruit passionate and enthusiastic community energy mentors to share their knowledge and experience.

Applications for mentoring organisations are now open. The deadline for submissions is 15 February 2021.

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Co‑operative values and principles create the ideal conditions to collaborate and share learning. This programme offers an exciting opportunity to develop even more inspiring and innovative community owned energy projects.
– James de le Vingne, Co‑operatives UK

Keith Hempshall, Centre for Sustainable Energy, says:

“We are excited by the opportunity that the Next Generation Community Energy Peer mentoring programme represents for communities across the UK to play a full role in delivering climate emergency objectives and creating a future energy system that is more democratic, decentralised and decarbonised.”

James de le Vingne, Head of Development Unit, Co‑operatives UK, says:

“We are proud of the many democratically owned community energy organisations doing incredible work across the UK. Co‑operative values and principles create the ideal conditions to collaborate and share learning. This programme offers an exciting opportunity to develop even more inspiring and innovative community owned energy projects. They will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Green Fox Community Co‑operative, working to supply locally sourced, low-carbon, low-cost heat and electricity and energy services to schools in Leicestershire. These projects are making a huge difference to people and the planet."

How to apply

Visit the Next Generation Community Energy Peer Mentoring programme for details of how to apply to be a mentor.
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