The Community Energy Fortnight hopes to raise awareness of renewable energy projects this September. As part of the national event, Carbon Co-op – a community-led co-operative in Manchester, aiming to self-retrofit homes – is hosting a networking event for people and groups involved in community renewable projects in the Greater Manchester area.
‘Fuelling Manchester’ is ultimately a socialising event allowing like-minded individuals to discuss community sustainability projects.
Jonathan from Carbon Co-op told Blue & Green Tomorrow more regarding the project.
Tell us a bit about your organisation
Based in Greater Manchester, we’re a community benefit society, a co-operative for householders who aim to make large-scale reductions in energy usage though whole house retrofit – installing many complimentary energy efficiency measures.
We help people access technical assistance, find trusted suppliers, achieve bulk discounts and, just as importantly, put people in touch with each other to form a supportive network of energy savers.
We’ve just finished a £500,000 programme of whole house retrofits.
What excites you about community energy?
The process of people taking control of their own energy supply, helping to decarbonise our energy system and tackle climate change.
What is the biggest challenge in scaling up community energy across the UK?
Without a doubt creating a viable, scalable model for energy efficiency and retrofit that puts community organisations in control of what is a highly complex and technical process.
What’s your vision for community energy in the UK?
The majority of people receiving their energy supply from local community energy organisations rather than the ‘big six’. People paying for warmth and comfort rather than electricity and gas – which opens up the possibility of paying for energy efficiency measures that reduce energy usage. Ultimately the National Grid owned and run by local, accountable co-operatives.
Would you encourage others to get involved in community energy?
The Community Energy Coalition (CEC) formed in 2011 and runs the Community Energy Fortnight.
The CEC is made up of 36 members, from of a wide range of organisations and charities, including Forum for the Future, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Co-operative Energy.
The fortnight hopes to inspire and educate people about the benefits of clean, green energy and encourages community groups to set up their own projects.
The public can see renewable energy projects close up with a variety of events and open days held across the UK from September 13–28.
Photo: Fueling Manchester