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ClientEarth Communications

4th May 2022

Clean energy

What is community energy?

Community energy refers to projects where citizens own or participate in the production and/or use of sustainable energy.

There are several characteristics that may be common to such community power schemes/projects:

  1. Membership by ordinary citizens or groups of citizens, where operation/ownership of the project is based on active involvement and/or participation;
  2. The project is largely intended to create tangible collective local or social benefits;
  3. An organisational structure that demonstrates self-governance or participatory democracy by all members of the project;
  4. Decarbonisation, or the intent to move away from fossil fuels as a source of power is an over-arching goal;
  5. Project benefits are realised by the individuals or communities close to the project;
  6. Profits are either re-invested into community power, or realised by the members of the project.

Why is community energy important?

Community power can help place citizens and communities at the centre of the low carbon transition. It involves them directly in energy decisions, and provides them with more control over possibilities to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. It also focuses on cooperation and development of common goals between citizens, leading to stronger communities overall.

Community power also contributes towards improving energy independence, energy savings, and ensuring secure and sustainable energy supply.

We believe community energy could be instrumental in meeting global climate goals – if governments play their cards right.