A Belper group has powered its way to the top of a major new national competition designed to bring about a “clean energy revolution” across the UK.
The Community Energy Challenge - launched by The Co-operative - has confirmed Transition Belper as one of seven groups across the UK selected to share £200,000 of mentoring, enterprise development and technical advice.
The group beat-off competition from over 120 other hopefuls to win the contest, which is designed to bring about a step change in the way electricity is generated.
The money will allow the group to run community owned hydro power projects in the Derwent Valley world heritage corridor between Cromford and Derby – leaving a “lasting legacy” for the next generation.
Ian Jackson, of Transition Belper, said this week: “We are absolutely delighted. The expertise and support will make a significant difference to our aims of exploring and developing community-owned and run hydro power projects.
“We believe that renewable energy and carbon reduction programmes would be great news for communities - giving people a say in the generation of energy locally while delivering wider social and environmental benefits.
“We want to encourage the broadest possible community participation and are keen to hear from members of the public who want to become more involved or, who have ideas about potential sites for hydro power generation.”
The project will be nurtured by Co-op until it is potentially ready for further investment which includes money from a revolving £400,000 fund to underwrite community share offers or the Co-op’s £100 million community renewables fund.
Paul Monaghan, The Co-operative’s Head of Social Goals, said: “The Co-operative’s investment can help to unlock the significant potential that community-owned renewable energy has to offer.
“Community energy can deliver local economic and social benefits in addition to helping the UK to meet its energy and climate change goals however, it can encounter many barriers. Through this competition we will share expertise and provide the tools needed to enable communities to overcome those obstacles and allow them to control, generate and benefit from their own renewable energy.”