The government is planning to offer a number of local communities up to £150,000 to invest in renewable technologies, such as solar panels, to provide them with energy.
The initiative is part of the Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF), which was launched today by Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey.
As part of the scheme, communities can apply for a grant of up to £150,000. The UCEF is part of the government’s Community Energy Strategy and aims to have one million homes powered by ‘home-made’ generation in the next six years.
‘The turning point in developing true community energy’
Speaking on the project, Davey said: “We’re at the turning point in developing true community energy.
“The cost of energy is now a major consideration for household budgets and I want to encourage groups of people across the country to participate in a community energy movement and take real control of their energy bills.
“Community-led action, such as collective switching, gives people the power to bring down bills and encourage competition within the energy market.”
‘A change in the way we approach powering our homes and businesses’
Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, said: “The Community Energy Strategy marks a change in the way we approach powering our homes and businesses – bringing communities together and helping them save money – and make money too.
“The Coalition is determined to unleash this potential, assist communities to achieve their ambitions and drive forward the decentralised energy revolution.
“We want to help more consumers of energy to become producers of energy and in doing so help to break the grip of the dominant big energy companies.”
The application process
UCEF will operate in tandem with the existing Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) and will work in much the same way.
Those interested in applying for funding will need to undertake a two stage application process. Step one involves a feasibility assessment costing up to £20,000 and stage two consists in applications for loans close to £130,000.