Five-year extension for innovative community renewable energy agreement

September 7, 2023

A pioneering cooperation agreement between Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES) and a community-owned renewable energy organisation in the city has been extended for a further five years.

The longer link-up between Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE) and the council will enable them to continue working together to identify local energy projects along with opportunities for joint research about community-based projects and the chance for people in the area to invest in renewable energy projects.

The agreement was first signed in 2011 when BWCE was set up by local people as a not-for-profit organisation to generate clean, renewable energy. 

The council said this business model was historically recognised as a pioneering way for local authorities to support community energy while ensuring the majority of the economic benefits from projects are retained in the area.

Surplus revenues are put into the BWCE Community Fund which, by March this year, had donated more than £330,000 to support local projects reducing carbon emissions and combating fuel poverty.

The council said the extended agreement contained small changes to the original to ensure it better reflects the organisations’ joint vision and includes signposting to the up-to-date policies and strategies.

Council deputy leader and cabinet member for climate emergency and sustainable travel, Cllr Sarah Warren, said the cooperation agreement was playing a leading role in the council’s commitment to achieving net zero for the district by 2030.

“It has given communities the chance to have a stake in renewable energy projects and helped to build community resilience in B&NES by generating local energy for local people through community owned renewable energy projects and the delivery of low energy services,” she added.

Bath & West Community Energy managing director Pete Capener described the partnership with the council as a critical factor in BWCE’s successful transition from a small voluntary organisation to one able to deliver large projects with an experienced and professional staff team.

“We are keen to continue growing this partnership, in support of our ambitious plans to increase the capacity of local community renewables, improve home energy efficiency and reduce household energy bills,” he added. 

“We welcome the council’s continuing commitment to achieving net zero by 2030 and are looking forward to playing our part in building the grass roots movement necessary to make this a reality.”


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