About Next Generation

Next Generation aims to create a step change in the development of genuinely sustainable, financially viable and innovative community businesses, helping to raise the profile of place-based community energy activity with policy-makers and industry.

The initiative is funded by Power to Change, the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Why this, and why now?

While traditional community energy models, such as owning renewable energy assets, have become less viable because of policy change, the community energy sector is uniquely placed to take advantage of the move to a smarter and more decentralised energy system.


The Next Generation programme is working to help the sector innovate, test and develop new business models to deliver more holistic and integrated local energy services. 

The programme fosters collaboration between community energy schemes and grid operators, policy-makers and the wider energy industry, to deliver the energy system transformation that we need.

Power to Change’s vision is to ‘create better places through community business’, by reviving local assets, protecting services, and addressing local needs. We believe Community Energy Businesses (CEBs) will be a major contributor to this goal.

What does the programme do?

1) Innovation: New business models for existing community energy groups

11 existing community energy businesses are being supported to pilot post Feed in Tariff businesses models that provide benefits across their local community. See our Innovation page for more detail.

2) Community Solar: Renewable energy asset transfer from the private sector to the community sector

Power to Change believes more communities should be able to generate their own energy and reinvest the profits to benefit local people. That’s why we’re working with CORE LLP partners to support 6 community energy organisations to take community ownership of 8 ground mounted solar arrays (40 MGW in total). See our Community Solar page for more detail.

3) Learning & Impact: For the community energy sector

Working closely with Community Energy England, we are ensuring that all materials and resources emerging from this programme are made available to the whole community energy sector, through a peer mentoring and sector learning scheme.

Who delivers the support programme?

Next Generation is delivered by a multi-disciplinary consortium made up of the Centre for Sustainable Energy (lead partner), Everoze Partners, Low Carbon Hub, Cooperatives UK, Cooperative Futures, Social and Sustainable Capital, and SFW Communications. 

These seven organisations have unrivalled experience of designing, setting up and administering major national community energy grant and support programmes, as well as being pioneering experts in engaging communities in energy issues and supporting them to create successful local energy projects, grounded in social and behavioural science.