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How can we scale-up community energy action in our cities? What are some of the best UK or international examples? Do frameworks to create scale exist in the community sector? What are the barriers to scaling up projects in the urban environment and how could we overcome them?

This interactive event will hear from speakers with experiences of scaling up city-based projects before engaging participants in exploring routes for future action.

Event agenda:

  1. Welcome: Syed Ahmed Chair Community Energy London – Introduction
  2. Introduction: Sylvia Baron, Greater London Authority– Supporting Community Energy
  3. Speakers
  • Nadia Smith, SELCE Boosting Community Solar
    • Nadia is a renewable energy professional with experience in both rural and urban community energy enterprises. Starting her career at Communities for Renewables, she was coordinating rooftop solar and MW scale projects across the South West. She then went on to manage the UK Solar policy group at the REA, and is now a director and project manager working on LED lighting retrofits and solar PV at South East London Community Energy Co-op.
      Nadia will discuss the importance of cooperation between local authorities and community energy enterprises, the role of community energy in climate emergency plans, and draw on some positive examples of local authority-community partnerships which fulfill both sustainability and social policy aims such as fuel poverty alleviation, employability & skills development and community cohesion.
      Nadia Smith, Director, South East London Community Energy & CEE Young Champion 2019
  • Toby Costin, CREW New Technology Options for Community Energy
    • Toby comes from a Utility background with 18 years of experience in the energy sector. In his career, he has been responsible for risk managing three power stations and setting up energy businesses for a number of banks and trade houses. In the last 7 years, Toby has focused on green energy and runs his own consulting business in conjunction with his duties for CREW Energy.
      Toby joined CREW in 2015 to help develop our sustainability projects and has been management lead on each project since, nine to date. He is particularly interested in how new technologies and innovative models can offer solutions in the fight against climate change.
      Toby’s passion for community energy stems from a desire to challenge climate change while offering opportunities and support to all members of the community. A desire to build a greener and fairer society.
  • Afsheen Rashid, Repowering Greater and more diverse public participation in community energy
    • Afsheen is Repowering’s Co-Founder and CEO. Alongside her role at Repowering, Afsheen is the chair of Community Energy England and on the board of Friends of the Earth. She is a community energy specialist with over 15 years’ experience working in the sector at local and national levels. She was a senior policy advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. She has a MA in Geography and MEnv in Environment, Science and Society as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Essex. In 2016 Afsheen was awarded an MBE for her work delivering renewable energy to deprived London communities and, in 2018, she won the Regen Clean Energy Pioneer award.
  • Mark Luntley, REScoop Routes for financing urban community energy
    • Mark has a 30-year career in public sector finance. He was Finance Director at Oxford City Council and subsequently at the Local Government Association. At the LGA Mark identified and developed the business case for a UK local government bonds agency. Mark helped establish and chaired the Oxfordshire Credit Union. He currently chairs the Westmill Windfarm Co-op and is a Director of the adjacent Westmill Solar Co-op.Mark is also a director at Community Energy England and REscoopEU and is a non-Executive Director of the Ethical Property Company.
  1. Q&A
  2. Closing remarks

The Mayor of London has been supporting community energy for three years now by allocating half a million pounds in feasibility grants to groups to support the development of local energy projects. The London Community Energy Fund (LCEF) has provided funding to 48 projects, greatly stimulating both new and existing community energy groups to bring forward projects across the capital. These projects vary from generating clean electricity through the use of solar PV, saving energy through the application of energy efficiency measures, and providing energy savings advice to fuel poor households. These projects are forecast to save over 1,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Further information including case studies can be found on the Greater London Authority’s LCEF website and Community Energy London’s Annual Report.

The Mayor now wants to see not only further growth of community energy but also support a scale-up of projects.

‘Scaling up urban community energy’ will examine:

  • How to best support the growth of city-scale community energy projects both in terms of the number of groups developing projects ; and
  • Also larger (or aggregated) community energy generation schemes, helping boost carbon savings and also increasing the generation of local clean energy.

Urban projects face a number of unique difficulties in relation to access to space, the built environment in which they are situated and often higher costs in relation to installation. Opportunities for large solar arrays and wind power projects are simply not viable in many cities. However, community energy works and its popularity with the public is increasing. A 2018 survey by ClientEarth reported that “almost three quarters of consumers would be interested in joining a community energy scheme if the government made it easier (71%), and individuals keen to install their own solar panels (62%) and home energy storage (60%).” Climate emergency declarations and adoption of a Net Zero target in 2019 have only led to a further increase of interest by individuals and communities in exploring routes to tackle climate change both nationally, but also in their homes and neighbourhoods.

A recording of the event can be accessed here.