WREN launch event 1

Your local energy

Why should your locality be thinking about community energy?

Energy spend  is  a  significant  drain  on  local  economies;  15%  of  earned  income  in some  of  the  localities  for which CfR  is working. Effective local energy enterprises can develop and implement a range of business models that help to:

  • Reduce and localise energy spend;
  • Generate income to re-invest in the community;
  • Tackle fuel poverty;
  • Reduce carbon emissions.

Local energy enterprises can be set up by volunteers, local councils or housing associations to serve their locality. Community energy enterprises have also been set up to serve a specific charitable purpose or organisation.

How CfR can help

CfR helps local energy enterprises to develop, finance and manage renewable energy generation projects that are owned by and run for the benefit of the local community. CfR also provides strategic advice to help develop and implement a wide  range  of  local energy  business  models  that  help  reduce,  stabilise  and  localise  energy  spend  and  earn income to re-invest in the local community.

CfR’s services include:
  • Organisation set-up and governance mentoring. CfR can advise on the range of legal structures (including community benefit society and community interest company) and help register your enterprise. CfR is a Co-operative Development Body (CDB) and has worked with Co-operatives UK to develop a set of model rules for a community energy enterprise set up as a community benefit society.
  • Local energy economy strategies. Quantify the cost of energy (electricity, heat and transport) to your locality and implications in terms of fuel poverty and value drain. Assess the potential value to the local economy of reducing and localizing energy spend through the development of a range of local energy business models.
  • Business planning and development. CfR can help you develop a business plan for a local energy enterprise appropriate to your locality, and provide ongoing mentoring support to help develop and grow it.
  • Renewable energy project feasibility. Area wide opportunities studies and site-specific technical and financial feasibility assessments for all technologies including solar PV (stand alone and roof-top), wind, hydro, renewable heat, A.D., and marine energy.
  • Renewable energy project development. Technical, commercial and project management support to help take your projects through the development process including: planning (and associated technical studies), site owner agreements, community engagement, grid connection, procurement and construction.
  • Finance raising. Commercial advice and project management support to help with community share offers, loan finance and commercial investment. For more information see ‘investment’ services
  • Operations support. Support with project asset management and enterprise administration and governance.

CfR is an advisory company. We earn income through consultancy fees which in some cases may be part contingent on success of delivering a project.

CfR’s experience

CfR has worked with over 20 local energy enterprises since it was set up in 2012 on projects ranging from multiple building-scale installations to large-scale community wind and solar projects. Our experience includes:

  • Worked with Plymouth Energy Community to set up PEC Renewables and the development and financing of over £2.5million of community-owned roof-top solar PV installations.
  • Helped a number of local energy enterprises with company registration and setting up governance arrangements.
  • Working with PEC Renewables (Plymouth) to develop a MW-scale community solar project on brown field land, including provision of development funding from CfR’s development fund
  • Worked with 7 local energy enterprises to identify and develop community solar (both roof-top and ground mounted) projects with funding from the Rural and Urban Community Energy Funds, including securing the first conditional offer for stage 2 loan funding
  • Advising a South West local authority on feasibility and business model options for community energy generation on Council-owned land and provided mentoring support to the officer team to help them manage the development of a MW-scale community solar project in-house
  • Advising the South West Devon Community Energy Partnership on local energy business models (including potential council participation) and working with 6 member groups to identify potential sites for community hydro, wind and solar PV projects