With rising energy prices and growing concerns about Britain’s dependence on overseas supplies of energy, Community Energy Warwickshire aims to offer people in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull opportunities to work together to invest in home-grown renewable energy and to help local communities save energy.
Most of the energy we currently use in Britain comes from fossil fuels. Worldwide energy demand continues to grow and fossil fuels are being used up at an ever greater rate.
In the UK, fossil fuel resources have been running out. Less than a decade ago we exported oil and gas – now we depend on imports. As a result, we face rising prices and the risk of supply disruptions.
Fracking and other unconventional ways to extract fossil fuels offer only short-term help – as well as increasing the risks of environmental destruction and pollution. And fracking does not address the major problem – as the main source of greenhouse gases, burning fossil fuels increases the risk of dangerous climate change.
That’s why we need to look to ways to reduce our demand for energy – and ways to meet that reduced demand through renewable energy technologies.
We want to increase our use of clean and sustainable sources of energy – particularly those which can make good use of the natural resources of our county, so helping our communities to become more energy resilient.
Community Energy Warwickshire aims to do this by investing in new ways to generate the energy we need – from renewable sources such as the sun, water and wind. And it aims to help communities in Warwickshire and Coventry to reduce the amount of energy they use, so they are less vulnerable to rising prices and uncertain supplies.
Here in Britain, the great majority of people believe we can benefit from local renewable energy – Community Energy Warwickshire is about making it happen.
Making it work – generating energy, saving energy
Community Energy Warwickshire plans to invest in projects to generate energy from low carbon, renewable sources. It has begun with a major installation of solar panels on roofs at Warwick and Stratford Hospitals as part of an innovative partnership with the hospitals’ owners, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust. The project, which has cost £100,000, has been funded by share capital provided by Community Energy Warwickshire’s members. We launched a successful new community share offer, to fund the second phase of our solar-powered hospitals scheme, at the end of March 2014, and we installed more solar panels on a new ward building at Warwick Hospital in December 2015.
At the same time, Community Energy Warwickshire has been seeking ways to help people save energy. We have set up a grant scheme, administered by Heart of England Community Foundation, through which local groups can support for projects to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty. We have also been working with local energy efficiency advice service Act on Energy to help and encourage people to save energy.