We're delighted to welcome guest blogger Katie Shaw from Forum for the Future, which convenes the Community Energy Coalition. As it's Community Energy Fortnight,Katie is promoting the benefits of working together for strength in numbers...

"Power to the people. Say we want a revolution, we'd better get on right away. Power to the people right on."

 

So go the lyrics to John Lennon’s 1971 hit song, “Power to the People”.  The political revolution it referred to at the time is pretty different to the revolution being sought by many in the UK today. But there’s certainly a resonance in its sentiment that’s resulted in it becoming something of a ‘team song’ for me recently.

So what is the revolution being called for in 2013? Well, it’s an energy revolution. And a community energy revolution, at that. In the words of Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change: “We want nothing less than a community energy revolution.”

Community-owned energy brings with it a whole host of benefits, from job creation, to energy security to a reduction in carbon emissions. Not only that, but it keeps those benefits within local communities, and helps to engage people with the source of their energy – something crucial if we’re going to achieve behaviour change at the scale needed to make a real dent in our energy consumption.

There’s been a momentum building to raise awareness of this form of energy ownership for some time now, led by the Community Energy Coalition. This Coalition is made up of influential and trusted civic society organisations, such as The Co-operative, the National Trust, the Women’s Institute and the Church of England, all convened by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future.

Founded in 2011, these organisations have been working together tirelessly to achieve their shared vision of community energy at scale in the UK by 2020.

And it seems that their engagement efforts are paying off. According to research by The Co-operative, seven out of ten people would support a community energy project near their home. Two out of three people who oppose wind turbines would change their minds if they were owned by, and benefitted, the local community.

In the latest phase of the Coalition’s work, this week sees the start of the UK’s first ever Community Energy Fortnight.

Designed to engage and inspire the public about the benefits of community energy, this Fortnight consists of events taking place right across the UK, from a tour of a wind park in Neilston, Scotland, to a walk around the National Trust hydros of Snowdonia; a behind-the-scenes tour of the Energy Centre at the Eden Project in Cornwall, to a community heat workshop in Buscot, Oxfordshire.

For the full list of events, visit the website.

In the build-up to the Fortnight, a petition has been running for people to sign in support of community energy. It will be presented to the Secretary of State during the second week of the Fortnight. To date it has a staggering 58,000 signatories – and counting! You can add your support to that call here.

Interested in learning more about community energy, and how it could be of benefit to your local area? 

 

Katie Shaw, Communications Advisor at Forum for the Future