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Commercial Buildings & Community Energy: Scaling up renewable energy delivery across the North West

We held a successful event to equip building owners and developers with the information needed to understand the benefits of community energy, identify whether there are opportunities for community energy on their estate and how to develop successful partnerships with community energy organisations. It was fascinating to hear from Bev and Mark, both leading large companies towards low and zero carbon, explaining how they are installing renewable energy across their estate in partnership with community energy organisations.

“It’s a no brainer” according to Mark Cropper, Chair of James Cropper plc. The benefits of teaming up with a community energy organisation are that the company gets renewable energy at a good price, lower carbon emissions, creates a community benefit and strengthens links with the wider community, without having to use its own capital. In discussion the participants identified the barriers to such partnerships as being a perceived hassle, and in the public/housing sector an ability to invest themselves, or a lack of awareness of the potential of community energy. These are easily overcome, as we work to raise awareness of community energy as part of the solution to the urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions, and as the Community Energy sector moves on we now have skilled legal, installation and project management teams to make developments easier and client-focused.

Legal and pricing issues were not seen as barriers. Most companies are familiar with leases and the concept of Power Purchase Agreements, and community energy group’s approach to pricing was accepted- shared benefits from the start between the energy user, investors and the community.

Together we can deliver ambitious carbon-saving targets for our region.

You can down load the presentations here:

Bev Taylor, Director of Energy & Environment, Bruntwood: Bruntwood’s approach to Energy & Environment and support for Community Energy, and Bruntwood’s Zero Carbon by 2030 pledge

Mark Cropper, Chairman, James Cropper plc: The James Cropper paper mill in Cumbria has large scale PV installed by Burneside Community Energy

Louise Marix Evans, Director, Quantum & Community Energy North: Community Energy, What it is and how it works (and why it’s brilliant)

Martin Hunt, Forum for the Future: introducing Power Paired, the new website to help asset owners match up schemes with community energy groups.