Community Energy describes group action to generate renewable energy and reduce energy consumption, with the aim of tackling climate change and putting control of energy production and management in the hands of local people.
Community Energy groups such as Alston Moor Community Energy are locally led and controlled and have an emphasis on local engagement, with the benefit that the aim that the local community benefits from the outcome of any projects. This could be through reduced bills, reduced contribution to climate change, through opportunities to invest in renewables and generate a return, or through generation of a surplus that can be used for broader, social, economic or environmental benefit.
Local groups understand both the potential and challenges of their local area, and are able to bring people together with common purpose.
The government states that at least 5,000 community groups have undertaken energy initiatives in the last five years, which include community-owned renewable electricity installations such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric generation; members of the community jointly switching to a renewable heat source such as a heat pump or biomass boiler, known as District Heating; and supporting energy saving measures such as the installation of cavity wall or solid wall insulation.