Green Fox Community Co-operative in Leicestershire wish to develop a model for a school-focused locally owned energy service company, building on their experience of supplying heat and electricity to Hinckley Academy. The model aims to supply clean locally generated heat and electricity and energy services to schools through a range of low carbon technologies in a better integrated and more cost-effective way, and are partnering with the Attenborough Learning Trust (four primary and infant schools). Download the case study | Watch the Innovation Lab webinar
In Bristol, Low Carbon Gordano are working in partnership with Lockleze Neighbourhood Trust to develop a model for distributed solar and local trading in an urban context. Their project, Lockleaze Loves Solar, is developing a model that enables the local community to own and operate a 1 megawatt cluster of solar panels on 300. The power generated will supply affordable energy to 300 households. As well as bringing immediate financial savings to those struggling with their energy bills, the highly replicable model will help to create community assets, raise aspirations and provide a platform for local residents to create climate resilience and develop local enterprise. Download the case study.
Nadder Community Energy, based in Wiltshire, would like to develop an energy business model that will improve the lives of local residents facing isolation and create returns for investors, while pioneering an approach that will drive adoption of sustainable transport in rural areas. Working closely with a local community transport organisation, the group are at an early stage of exploring possibilities for an electric community transport business model based on a membership scheme and the use of locally generated solar for charging. Download the case study here | Watch the Innovation Lab webinar
Brighton Energy see an opportunity for 100s of community energy groups to contribute to local transport electrification and are looking to add electric car charging points at sites where they currently own solar PV assets. They hope to test the profitably of an integrated package of solar PV, EV charging and battery technology for community energy groups. They hope their model will reduce air pollution and noise, and bring social benefits such as free charging to disadvantaged citizens and the creation of a community fund for local residents. Download the case study | Watch the Innovation Lab webinar
Many small community buildings are not benefiting from reduced energy consumption by changing to LED lighting, so Chester Community Energy are trialing a business model that finances the upfront costs of smart-lighting installations and enables community groups to repay the investment through the savings on their electricity bills. Chester Community Energy believe that energy saving in the order of 100MWh could be achieved in 2-3 years while at the same time reducing the running costs and improving the quality of lighting.
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Bath & West Community Energy's Flex Community project is designed to test and pilot the Stemy Energy cloud-based platform with 50 households providing electricity flexibility by enabling demand-side response through the automatic control of major electric-powered technologies, such as EV charge posts and heat pumps, within householder-defined comfort constraints. The project is working with Western Power Distribution to simulate real-time flexibility requests and so test the platform and householder response and validate the business model for scaling and replication. Download the case study.
Carbon Co-op will establish a trusted Community Energy Data Co-operative for their members in Greater Manchester, creating a new, replicable business model based on member consent and featuring services enabled by the analysis and processing of large amounts of members’ home energy and behavioural data. This unique business model builds on Carbon Co-op’s established software development and engineering expertise in the field of energy, data and ICT householder services, including their smart meter integration service, home energy assessment and domestic flexible asset management. Download the case study here | Watch the Innovation Lab webinar
CREW Energy aims to use community ownership of renewable heat to tackle three issues in society: climate change, fuel poverty and air quality. They aim to achieve their goals through education, outreach, community funding, delivery and maintenance of heat networks and renewable heating systems. Download the case study | Watch the Innovation Lab webinar
Plymouth Energy Community and South Dartmoor Community Energy are each working to deliver community led, net zero carbon affordable housing. Community Energy Plus are also working with Cornwall based Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to improve energy performance of these developments. Together, this partnership wants to incorporate stacked energy service business models that deliver electricity, heat and mobility into housing development. This will unlock a new energy asset business model for Community Energy to collaborate with CLTs as well as building exemplar projects for the future of housing. Download the case study.
In partnership with Igloo regeneration, Burnside Community Energy aim to develop a business case to supply community-owned renewable energy to a new 180-home housing development in Burneside, Cumbria. This project aims to supply electricity and heat using a combination of local generation and supply/demand balancing. The homes will be all electric (despite a gas supply in the village) using ground and water source heat pumps with inter-seasonal storage feeding a heat network, a solar PV network, electricity storage and EV charging points.
GCEC wishes to develop a business model based on distributed systems of PV and battery installations over 400 dwellings, combined with participation in the market for grid balancing services. Working in partnership with Stroud council, the installs will take place across the council’s sheltered housing estate, and the battery capacity would join Ecotricity’s Virtual Power Plant to provide a grid balancing service. If successful, the model could provide an exemplar for how community energy groups can partner with local councils and electricity companies to deliver innovative, investable and sustainable projects. Download the case study.
The Next Generation Innovation Fund is working with 11 organisations to develop and test new business models on behalf of the community energy sector. Each project is provided with up to £100,000 of grant funding and the support of our consortium to develop their project ideas, test the real world application of their business models and share this learning to benefit the wider sector.
A variety of business models are currently being tested across England through the Innovation Fund, these include electric car clubs, heat pump trials, domestic flexibility services and setting up energy service companies for schools and new housing developments.
To be eligible for support through the Next Generation programme each of the projects must continue to demonstrate how they are guided by 4 principles:
Innovation: Each project is exploring a new direction in which the community sector could evolve in a post-subsidy landscape.
Business models: The funding provided is to test ideas which are not yet proven to work and get them off the ground, however the resulting projects aim to be self-sustaining business models which are not dependent on grants.
Community Impact: The projects encapsulate the Power to Change vision of creating better places through community business by benefiting and engaging local people.
Replication: business models and the associated learnings must be captured and disseminated for advancement of the community energy sector as a whole.
The Next Generation Innovation Groups
These projects are being showcased in our monthly ‘Innovation Lab’ webinar series alongside other innovative community energy business models. Recordings of previous webinars can be found on our Learning Page.
For more specific enquires the Next Generation team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.