Community Energy Warwickshire is a community benefit society – an organization which aims to invest to benefit the local communities in which it works. Community benefits can come in two main ways: through funding work aimed at positive action on sustainable energy and energy efficiency, and through partnering with local communities to help develop energy projects.
Providing community benefits
Following discussion by its members at the 2013 Annual General Meeting, Community Energy Warwickshire has set up a charitable fund which will be used to support specific activities for the benefit of local communities. The fund, which is being administered by Coventry-based Heart of England Community Foundation, offers financial support for activities which will benefit residents through
- Insulation or other energy efficiency improvements to homes;
- Bursaries for training in ways to improve the energy efficiency of homes through either technical improvements to the building fabric or advice on the use of energy in the home to residents;
- Running events, workshop or surgeries where people can get advice on ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home;
- Providing one-to-one support to help vulnerable people to live in warm and energy efficient homes.
Community Energy Warwickshire has put £5,000 into this fund in its first year 2014-15. Click here to find out more about the projects that have been funded to date.
Partnering with Community Energy Warwickshire
Community Energy Warwickshire aims to work with community organisations in Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry which want to undertake energy-related projects. Such projects might include the installation of a renewable energy system, such as solar panels on the roof of a village hall, where Community Energy Warwickshire could provide the expertise to plan, design, build and commission a system – and raise the money to pay for it.
Where Community Energy Warwickshire takes financial risks and responsibility for a project, it owns all the plant and equipment and receives FiT income and revenue from exports of electricity to the national grid. At the same time, it aims to share the financial and other benefits of the project equitably with the partner organisation. Financial benefits to the partner organisation can include one or a combination of:
- an annual rental payment for the use of building space occupied by the plant and equipment
- free or discounted use of energy generated
- a share of income received for exports of electricity to the national grid.
Community Energy Warwickshire also aims to work with its partner to offer energy efficiency and awareness sessions for the local community and to contribute to community events.