What is Community Energy?

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 partnership with commercial or public sector partners.

What are the benefits of Community Energy?

We believe that community energy is a key part in achieving the urgent (and just) energy transition we need. Community Energy projects can become trusted local intermediaries which advocate and deliver changes such as local renewable energy, smart meters, energy audits, energy efficiency retrofits, electric vehicle charging etc.

The known benefits are broad, wide and deep. They include:

• Stimulating the local economy
• Putting the profits back into other community projects
• Tackling the climate emergency
• Educating people about energy
• Engaging people on energy and energy efficiency
• Supporting and creating local services
• Building the capacity and skills of local people and organisations
• Increasing the sustainability of community buildings and schools
• Supporting households in fuel poverty
• Stimulating and supporting new rural enterprises
• Supporting Welsh culture and the Welsh Language

We gather more evidence about this every year as the sector grows. Find out more in our annual State of the Sector report.

Where is the nearest Community Energy project to me?

Take a look at our members map to find your nearest project.

How can I support Community Energy on a personal level?

There are many ways you can support community energy:

  1. Join our RhanNi network. RhanNi is a growing movement for people who want to support community energy in Wales. Through RhanNi, we will share opportunities for you to use your time, expertise or money to build our movement.
  2. If you are a member of an existing community organisation, and support the aims of Community Energy Wales, encourage your group to join as a member and consider starting your own community energy project.
  3. Offer your time and your skills to your existing local community energy organisation. Whether or not you have specialised skills (such as engineering, accounting, law, social media and so forth), your commitment and support in your local community can make all the difference. If you learn new skills from the experience, you will have them to offer to future projects
  4. Invest in community share offers. Thousands of people across Wales have bought shares and become members of community energy projects. These people own a a small part of a hydro-elecrtric scheme, wind farm or solar array, helping to mitigate climate change, building stronger and more resilient communities and earning a fair rate of interest. To learn more about how you can invest in community share offers join RhanNi.

I want to start my own community energy project, where do I start?

If you want to start a new community energy group or project, there is lots of help and advice available. First of all, consider the steps in the FAQ on “How can I support Community Energy on a Personal Level” above.

At Community Energy Wales we run a range of regular webinars and working group meetings, where members share their knowledge and wisdom and give and receive help with making their projects happen. Get in touch with us for more information.

There is also support available for new groups through the Egin network. Through Egin, community groups can access Peer Mentor support to take their first steps towards taking action on climate change and living more sustainably.

Welsh Government have given support to many of our existing members for over a decade – including advice, tools and templates, grants for developing projects, and loans to build them. The current support available is at the Welsh Government Energy Service.

How do I finance my community energy project?

The nature of financial support available changes constantly. We share regular updates on grants, bursaries and loans available through our monthly newsletter. If you would like an overview of the current financial support, please get in touch.

Community Energy in Wales does not have limitless resources – but we will help you in whatever way we can to explore the options and move forward with your local ambitions. If you have any further questions (or think of answers you would like to find in this list) do not hesitate to get in touch.

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