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Call for community energy backing

The University of East Anglia has issued a report this week highlighting the need for more government backing for sustainable community energy projects.

Although the Community Energy Strategy is acknowledged as a positive move, the UEA says further support and encouragement is required to gain more uptake for environmentally-friendly projects.

Analysis of 12 small-scale local community projects was conducted by a research team from UEA and the University of Sussex, with members also interviewing those responsible for successful examples.

The report states it found “a great deal of community enthusiasm” for innovative projects, including renewable energy generation and refurbishing local amenities.

However, said lead researcher Dr Gill Steyfang “the resources available are not always enough to really help them flourish”.

“What is really needed is flexible and tailored policy support at all levels. While technical advice is available through handbooks and toolkits, there are some really critical support needs in particular – from decision making help to financial models and emotional stamina to keep going in challenging times.”

‘A grassroots sustainable energy niche? Reflections on community energy in the UK’ was published in the journal Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and EDF Energy.