Are community energy schemes the future of low-carbon energy? Repowering certainly think so and you could support them!
The social enterprise, started in Brixton in 2011, helps communities in London to generate and store their own power. The idea is simple. A community comes together to create a society. They install renewable energy projects (such as solar panels) on local buildings. This generates income which pays for administration costs and interest pay-outs to shareholders. Anything left over goes into a community benefit fund and can be used as society members see fit.
It’s a tried and tested model. But Repowering is more than just an energy scheme. They also offer community support and educational opportunities. And they’re keen on building links with other organisations.
Why is this necessary? “Fuel poverty is a big issue,” says Éva Goudouneix, Repowering’s community engagement officer. “And it’s important to have energy systems owned by the people”. In fact, in 2018, more than 10% of households in England were living in fuel poverty.
While most of Repowering’s investors tend to come from the community they invest in, some come from outside. And there’s a strong case for doing so. Not only will you get a 3-4% return on your investment. You’ll also be empowering small communities and helping reduce carbon emissions at the same time.
The future of energy
Communities that come together with a shared mission enjoy strengthened relationships and more awareness of the issues that affect us all. They learn new skills and benefit from cheaper, cleaner energy. So what does Éva think is the future of energy? “I would really like to see more community energy groups,” she says, “and people using energy more efficiently”.
The world Éva envisions includes smart energy, decentralised power, fairer prices, and more renewables. Repowering’s North Kensington scheme will soon be open to investors. So if you share Éva’s vision, get aboard and make a pledge here.