06 Jun 2023

Community and local energy Utility

Electricity North West's Powering our Communities Fund

Are you a member of a community or local energy group in the North West? If so, you'll be excited to know that Electricity North West is currently accepting applications for their Powering our Communities Fund. In this blog post, Helen Seagrave, Community energy manager at Electricity North West, discusses this great opportunity that is available to those who are passionate about creating positive change in their neighbourhoods. With a total of £100,000 available, approved projects will receive funding ranging from £5,000 to £15,000. Keep reading to learn more about how your group can benefit from this initiative. The aim of the fund is to support projects that deliver carbon savings alongside widespread community engagement. Projects can either achieve these aims as a direct result of the funding, or they can use the funding to "seed" an activity that will lead to a community-led projects or initiatives to reduce, manage, generate or purchase energy. 

Helen Seagrave at Halton Hydro, a previous winner of the fund

So, what is Community and local energy?

Community and local energy is a broad term that encompasses a range of initiatives that aim to produce, distribute, and consume energy at a local level. These initiatives can be led by communities, businesses, or governments, and they can take a variety of forms, such as:

  • Community-owned renewable energy projects: These projects generate electricity from renewable sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, or hydro power, and sell the electricity back to the grid or to local consumers.
  • Energy efficiency projects: These projects aim to reduce energy consumption by improving the energy efficiency of homes, businesses, and public buildings. This can be done through measures such as insulation, smart thermostats, and LED lighting.
  • Community energy planning: This involves working with communities to develop plans for how they can meet their energy needs in a sustainable way. This can include measures such as promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and public transportation.


Why is community and local energy important?

Community and local energy is important for a number of reasons. It can help to:

  • Reduces carbon emissions: Community and local energy projects can help to reduce carbon emissions by generating electricity from renewable sources. This can help to combat climate change and improve air quality.
  • Creates jobs: Community and local energy projects can create jobs in the construction, installation, and operation of renewable energy projects. They can also create jobs in the manufacturing of energy-efficient products and services.
  • Boosts the local economy: Community and local energy projects can boost the local economy by generating revenue for local businesses and creating jobs. They can also attract new investment to the area.
  • Increases community resilience: Community and local energy projects can help to increase community resilience by developing relationships and networks between people in a local area.  This can mean that members of a community know who to turn to for help and support when they need to.

Electricity North West’s Powering our Communities Fund

At Electricity North West we’re committed to supporting community and local energy, the Powering our Communities Fund has been running for five years. Examples of community and local energy projects that could be funded by the Powering our Communities Fund include:

  • Engagement event or work shop to scope a project
  • Feasibility funding for a new group or project
  • Legal costs or technical expertise to support starting a group or a project
  • Staff time or peer support between groups
  • Expansion of an existing project
  • Research  into, or trialing a way to overcome,  specific barrier

To be eligible for funding, projects must:

  • Be located in the North West of England
  • Be able to demonstrate community engagement and benefit
  • Have a clear plan for how the funding will be used
  • Be able to demonstrate the benefits of the project

Applications for the Powering our Communities Fund are now open. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 19 July 2023. To find out more about the fund and to apply, please visit the Electricity North West website. Powering Our Communities fund (enwl.co.uk)

Community and local energy is a growing movement, and there are opportunities for everyone to get involved. By working together, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future for our communities.