Community energy groups across England can benefit from a new peer support programme to help develop new innovative business models. The Next Generation Community Energy Peer Mentoring programme is now open for applications – closing date 15 March.
The Next Generation Community Energy Peer Mentoring programme aims to harness the skills, enthusiasm and expertise of the community energy sector.
What support is available?
The programme is open to community energy groups developing innovative projects. Up to 40 groups will receive peer mentoring support to develop and test new business models on behalf of the community energy sector. To be eligible for support, projects or community energy businesses must demonstrate:
Innovation: Each project is exploring a new direction in which the community sector could evolve in a post-subsidy landscape.
Business models: The mentoring support aims to help test ideas which are not yet proven to work and get them off the ground, however the resulting projects aim to be self-sustaining business models which are not dependent on grants.
Community impact: The projects encapsulate the Power to Change vision of creating better places through community business by benefiting and engaging local people.
Replication: Business models and the associated learnings must be captured and disseminated for advancement of the community energy sector as a whole.
Successful applicants will be matched with an experienced community energy mentor and receive up to four days of peer mentoring support between March and September 2021.
Join a webinar at 11am on 4th March to find out more information about the programme and ask any questions. Please click here to register.
Next Generation Community Energy Peer Mentoring programme is managed by Co-operatives UK in partnership with Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE). We are also delighted to be working with Community Energy England (CEE). The programme is funded by Power to Change.
How to apply
Community energy groups developing innovative projects can apply to receive peer mentoring support.
Applications are open now and close on 15 March 2021. Working in cohorts, successful applicants will be matched with experienced mentoring organisations.
Is your community energy group developing an innovative project?
About the programme
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 locally-led solutions to net zero.
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.
Will Walker, Programme and Investment Manager on community energy at Power to Change said:
“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.”
The selected mentors
After going through an application process earlier in the year, the following mentoring organisations have been confirmed:
- Bath & West Community Energy
- Brighton Energy Coop
- Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co‑operative
- Carbon Co‑op
- Crew Energy
- Green Fox Community Energy Co-operative
- Energise Sussex Coast
- Hockerton Housing Project Trading Ltd
- RINA Tech UK Ltd
- Quantum Strategy & Technology Ltd
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."
"The successful groups 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."
Application details can be found here: www.next-generation.org.uk/peer-mentoring. The deadline for applications is midnight 15 March 2021.