Liverpool Community Renewables

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What is Community Energy

Community energy for me means the shift away from centralised, corporate ownership of the production and distribution of energy towards community, decentralised not-for-profit ownership.

It is the transition from a carbon based energy system to a system of distributed generation of energy generated from renewable sources- Solar PV or Thermal, heat pumps, wind turbines (off-shore and on), biomass, wave and tidal power.

For a project or organisation to describe itself as being part of the Community Energy sector, it must have certain characteristics.

  • it must be owned and/or democratically accountable to the community in which it operates – ideally both.
  • it must re-invest any surplus they generate from their activities back into the community it serves – either helping to reduce energy use or developing more renewable energy capacity.
  • there should not be any barriers to members of the community participating in the projects and the active participation of community members should be encouraged.
  • It’s activities must bring tangible benefits to the community in which it operates; reducing energy demand or cheaper energy tariffs.
  • it must deliver a financial return to investing members and other investors.

 

The money circulated from the activities of generating, supplying and saving energy are captured and retained in the locality.

Organisations we work with

Liverpool Community Renewables was established in June 2014 by members of Liverpool Transition Towns energy group and Friends of the Earth.

LCR is registered with Co-operatives UK and is a member of Co-operatives North West. Co-operatives UK is the national body that campaigns and works to promote, develop and unite co-operative enterprises.

Co-operatives North West is the regional network of co-operative enterprise in the North West of England. Co-operatives North West`s vision is to promote develop and sustain a thriving regional co-operative economy and community.

LCR is a member of Community Energy England. Community Energy England was established in 2014 as a not-for-profit organisation, set up to provide a voice for the community energy sector and help create the conditions within which community energy can flourish.

LCR is registered as a RESCoop. RESCoop is short for Renewable Energy Sources Coop. RESCoop 20-20-20 (PDF) is an initiative launched by the Federation of groups and co-operatives of citizens for renewable energy in Europe with the support of the Intelligent Energy Europe Program (European Commission).

LCR is on the Energy Mentoring Programme, supported by Co-operatives UK and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The programme is a new initiative which enables new community energy groups to benefit from support delivered by experienced mentors as they seek to develop community energy projects.

Our mentoring organisation is Sharenergy. Sharenergy helps communities set up and own renewable energy societies. Sharenergy is involved with lots of projects around the UK.

We have also received help and advice and hope to continue to work with My Green Investment CIC.

LCR is working with L8 Living Sustainably, a local lottery funded project which aims to promote renewable energy in South Liverpool.

LCR are working to develop links with the Local Enterprise Partnership and the City Council.

 

Other Co-ops

Progress towards reducing Co2 emissions and switching to renewables has been made in other countries. In Denmark co-ops and local ownership are a big part of their wind industry- in 2009 15% of their wind turbines were co-operatively owned. Renewable energy production is 20% of Germanys entire electricity output (see this report by Fraunhofer Institute for 2014). The city of Munich plans to supply the whole municipality, 1 million people, with renewable electricity by 2025.

The US has a long history of rural and municipal energy coops and “not-for-profit” organisations. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is a publicly owned utility company that delivers water and electricity to 3.8 million residents.

In this country there are good examples of pioneers who have developed the energy coop model, Brixton Energy Coop, Bath and West Community Energy, Ovesco, Bristol Energy Coop, and Brighton Energy Coop.