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UK Community Energy Challenge: Encouraging Initiation of New Community Power Co-operatives in the UK – Apply Before February 29!

Community Energy Challenge

Bringing a clean energy revolution to communities across the UK

The Community Energy Challenge is a bold new initiative by The Co-operative that will support a powerful set of community energy projects and help unleash a clean energy revolution across the UK.
For the Community Energy Challenge, The Co-operative is seeking six to eight ambitious communities keen to develop projects that involve local people, change the way we think about energy, and inspire others to shape a renewable energy future.
The Community Energy Challenge is part of The Co-operative’s Clean Energy Revolution campaign.
  • Saying NO to more dirty fossil fuels: calling for a moratorium on the development of shale gas in the UK
  • Saying YES to clean energy: supporting communities to develop renewable energy and calling on the UK Government to invest more in clean energy
The Community Energy Challenge will provide 12-18 months of enterprise development, mentoring, technical advice and community facilitation for six to eight communities, enabling them to initiate co-operative renewable energy projects at a significant scale (e.g. valued at £1m to £3m and/or rated in excess of 500kW).
This support is being delivered by CSE on behalf of The Co-operative Group and aims to bring the selected community projects to a state of readiness for further support and investment from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and The Co-operative Bank.
The Community Energy Challenge offers a supported application process designed to help communities develop strong project proposals, even from a standing start. Lack of technical know-how should not be a barrier and communities with ambition are encouraged to apply.
The Community Energy Challenge will operate a competitive bid process. All applications will be carefully evaluated and the final selection made by an expert panel. The deadline for expressions of interest is 29 February 2012.
For full details, download the Guidance for Applicants (below)

What sort of projects will be funded?
The projects will be selected primarily on the basis of the quality of the bid and the likelihood of success. Key factors that the selection panel will be considering include:
  • the co-operative nature of the project
  • renewable resource availability
  • evidence of broad community support and involvement
Beyond this, the following criteria will be important:
  • a co-operative structure, local funding and ownership
  • involvement of the local community in the project’s design
  • a sense of accountability to the local community
  • benefit to the local community directly (e.g. through cheaper heating and/or electricity, tackling fuel poverty, payment of dividends, employment etc)
  • the scale of the project and its carbon-emission reduction potential
  • the potentially ground-breaking nature of the project, its national and local significance, relevance and/or visibility and opportunities for media and political resonance
  • potential for replication by other communities
We anticipate there being a mix of technologies (wind, hydro, solar PV, biomass, anaerobic digestion) and a geographical spread in the chosen projects.

How to apply
Below is a brief overview of the application process. A fuller description can be found in theGuidance for Applicants (below).
Communities wishing to apply for the Co-operative Energy Fund should do so using the EOIApplication Form (below). Applications can be submitted electronically or by post. There are four stages to the application process:
Stage 1: Submitting an ‘expression of interest’ 
This is a straightforward ‘registration’ stage in which you tell us about your group, your proposed project and how you think it will benefit the wider community etc. The expression of interest (EOI) forms can be downloaded below, or a hard copy obtained by phoning 0845 177 1656*.
The EOI applications must be received by Wednesday 29 February, 2012.
Stage 2: Submitting a full bid
Up to 30 of the groups who submit an EOI will be asked to submit a full bid. This is a supported stage where we will work with you to ensure that your bids are as strong as possible. The completed bids will be assessed by an independent expert panel (not involved in the support process).
Stage 3: Interview
Approximately 10 of the 30 groups will be invited to interview at The Co-operative Group’s headquarters in Manchester at which they will present their proposal to an interview panel made up of energy and community experts from CSE, Government and The Co-operative Group.
Stage 4: Announcement of successful projects
Successful projects will be informed by the end of May 2012, and support will begin straight away for the six to eight groups involved.

Guidance for Applicants
Expression of Interest application form
(This application form is a Word document with expandable text fields, and is designed to be filled in electronically and emailed back to us. If you want to fill the application form out by hand, please email us and we’ll put a hard copy in the post)

Further information
If you need to speak to someone about this fund or have a question that is not answered in theGuidance for Applicants or the frequently asked questions please contact the project team or 0845 177 1656* .
Source: Centre for Sustainable Energy:

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