£1m fund created to power community-run energy

Low Carbon Hub has joined forces with an expert consortium of partners in a new project called The Next Generation, a fund to develop new decentralised, decarbonised, and democratised energy business models. 

The Next Generation fund will provide grants of up to £100,000 to ten community energy groups to work on new business models for community energy in their area. There will be two application rounds, one in winter 2018 and one in early 2019, which will award funding and support to five community groups per round.  

The project is seeking well established and experienced community energy businesses in England who want to develop innovative business models, building on their past achievements. Projects will need to be complete by June 2021. 

Expressions of interest for the first round of the Next Generation grant scheme will open on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 and close on Sunday, January 13, 2019. For further information visit: next-generation.org.uk 

Interested parties in the Next Generation programme can join a free webinar about the programme from 5.30pm on Tuesday, November 20. 

About the consortium

The consortium includes the Centre for Sustainable Energy (the lead partner), Low Carbon Hub, Everoze Partners, Cooperatives UK, Community Shares Unit, Cooperative Futures, Social and Sustainable Capital, and SFW Communications.

Community-owned renewables  

A further element of the project is to transfer renewable energy assets from the private sector to the community sector so that communities can generate their own energy and reinvest the projects back to benefit local people. 

Power to Change has partnered with Big Society Capital to create CORE LLP partners, to provide additional capital to fund the purchase of existing solar farms, currently in private ownership. CORE will then hold the solar farms in trust while the local community develop the capacity to buy them back. Through the Next Generation programme, these communities will be skilled up and supported to make this transfer happen as smoothly as possible and will also receive support with further business planning to develop other more innovative local energy business models, once they have an anchor asset of their own.

If you believe there is a suitable solar asset in or very near to your community that is or will shortly be available on the market, please contact CORE directly about the asset transfer element of the programme.