Community Energy Practitioners’ Forum

Community Energy Practitioners’ Forum

The Community Energy Practitioners' Forum was set up in early 2010 when a number of community organisations got together to discuss how best to help communities. It was decided that this could be best done by sharing ideas, experience and information.

Aims of the Community Energy Practitioners' Forum

The Community Energy Practitioners' Forum was set up to provide a co-ordinated and coherent voice and pool of expertise for effective community energy action. It aims to counter potential confusion between the many third sector organisations operating in the area. It is designed to provide a means of bringing together a greater scale of know-how, creativity and support for communities striving to put in place large energy and carbon reduction projects.

The Community Energy Practitioners' Forum aims to move community action on energy closer to the centre of the UK’s response to climate change and energy security by:

  • Establishing a coherent and consistent common voice to help inform and shape policies and programmes.
  • Sharing knowledge, experience and resources to develop a robust evidence base.
  • Raising standards of practice, improving efficiency by reducing duplication and accelerating the dissemination of learning.
  • Developing and realising opportunities to collaborate on the delivery of high-quality projects that empower and support community energy action across the UK.

Unparalleled expertise

The Community Energy Practitioners' Forum brings together unparalleled expertise. Its members have already worked in partnership with many other organisations and communities, and they are all active in delivering information, advice and support to communities, thereby enabling them to take charge of their own action plans to combat climate change.

All members of The Community Energy Practitioners' Forum:

  • Have charitable or not-for-profit constitutions.
  • Pay staff to work in the delivery of community energy action through direct and sustained contact with communities.
  • Work with one or more communities, with a purpose of stimulating further action and disseminating good practice.
  • Agree with the group’s statement of purpose and principles.

As well as the National Energy Foundation, the Community Energy Practitioners' Forum includes:

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). The Centre for Alternative Technology provides a range of postgraduate degrees, runs residential and one-day courses for schools, colleges, the general public and building trades, provides outreach work including teacher training. Facilities include a visitor centre, eco-shop, vegetarian restaurant and an expansive range of renewable energy systems. CAT is concerned with the search for globally sustainable, whole and ecologically sound technologies and ways of life. As part of this search, CAT explores and demonstrates a wide range of alternatives, communicating to other people the options for them to achieve positive change in their own lives.

Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE). The Centre for Sustainable Energy is a charitable business, established in 1979, with the mission to advance sustainable energy policy and practice. Its vision is of a world where sustainability is second nature, carbon emissions have been cut to safe levels and fuel poverty has been replaced by energy justice. CSE brings together an in-depth understanding of national energy policy with strong practical experience of delivering local and regional initiatives. It achieves its mission by:

  • Delivering effective projects which enable individuals, communities and organisations to make bothb their energy supply and use more sustainable.
  • Empowering and supporting effective action by others in their organisations and communities across the UK.
  • Using experience and evidence to shape local, regional and national policy through expert analysis and research.

Changeworks. Changeworks exists to improve quality of life and to protect the environment. It is a Scottish charity with commercial trading subsidiaries. Working with passion, integrity and in collaboration to develop and deliver innovative projects and businesses that inspire and empower people and communities to make a difference. By providing people with the information they need to make choices that lessen their impact on the environment, Changeworks helps them to lead safer, healthier, more fulfilled lives. By alleviating poverty and disadvantage, it helps foster social justice and equality of opportunity. By using the earth’s natural resources efficiently they help to protect the rich and diverse planet that is our home and to ensure that those resources are available for everyone, now and in the future.

Community Energy Plus (CEP). Community Energy Plus is an award-winning charity and company limited by guarantee, incorporated in April 1998. CEP works at a local delivery level to tackle climate change, promote sustainable energy and reduce fuel poverty. It operates mainly within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly but also occasionally in other parts of the South West. It encourages individual families to access grants to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, and supports community groups seeking funding for renewable technologies.  CEP is also working to promote community ownership of renewable energy schemes.

Energy Agency. The Energy Agency is a charitable organisation, established in 1999 and operates throughout Scotland but mainly in the South West. It provides free, impartial, expert advice to householders, businesses and communities covering energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable issues. The agency has developed and delivered a large number of innovative projects, many of which have won national and international awards. Since 2000, the Energy Agency has delivered education lessons linked to the 5–14 National Curriculum, to over 40,000 students. The agency also works in partnership with a wide range of local, national and European organisations.

Warm Homes Energy Agency (WHEA). The Warm Homes Energy Agency is a trading company owned by the Energy Agency. WHEA manages grant and loan schemes and the referral mechanisms for customers, utility companies and installers.

Groundwork. Groundwork focuses on communities facing serious disadvantage. It aims to develop and deliver programmes that practically address environmental, economic and social issues. Groundwork delivers thousands of projects in neighbourhoods damaged by decline and neglect. These areas are characterised by high unemployment and crime levels, poor public health, run-down housing and public spaces, waste ground and struggling businesses. Groundwork aims to improve things in three ways:

  • For people – creating opportunities for people to learn new skills and take local action.
  • For places - creating better, safer and healthier neighbourhoods.
  • For prosperity - helping businesses and individuals fulfil their potential.

This includes community behaviour change and domestically targeted home energy advice programmes, including the 'Green Doctor', which received Audit Commission recognition for its effectiveness and positive impact.

Marches Energy Agency (MEA). The Marches Energy Agency is an independent climate change social enterprise operating across the Midlands. Its purpose is to deliver outcomes addressing human-induced climate change, energy security and peak oil. Its objectives are focused on protecting the environment, delivering sustainable development education and alleviating poverty. MEA's mission is to be the 'do tank' (not a 'think tank') which delivers low carbon communities, households and organisations via demonstration, inspiration and education. MEA majors on developing and delivering creative, practical and effective products and services to enable the rapid uptake of sustainable energy measures and climate change solutions.

National Energy Action (NEA). National Energy Action develops and promotes energy efficiency services to tackle the heating and insulation problems of low-income households. Working in partnership with central and local government, fuel utilities, housing providers, health services and consumer organisations, NEA aims to eradicate fuel poverty and campaigns for greater investment in energy efficiency to help those who are poor or vulnerable.

Severn Wye Energy Agency (SWEA). The Severn-Wye Energy Agency is a SAVE regional energy agency. It was established as an independent not-for-profit company. SWEA promotes sustainable energy and affordable warmth through partnership, awareness-raising, innovation and strategic action. It aims to help everyone in the communities that it serves to enjoy the benefits that energy can bring without reducing the ability of future generations to do the same. SWEA works from the strategic level through to practical action on the ground, and has developed a wide portfolio of activities in energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable transport. Based in Gloucestershire, SWEA is active in south-west England and Wales, with a particular focus and presence in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and Powys.