Ace (Academy of Champions for Energy) - European sustainable energy initiative

Ace is funded by the INTERREG IVB NWE programme and is a sustainable energy initiative running in Ireland, England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It is based on the idea that if the right information is provided, there will be an increased uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

Those involved in energy - utility companies, energy suppliers, businesses, local government and energy users - are all developing their own individual strategies for sustainable energy. Ace aims to bring all these approaches together by creating an 'Academy of Champions for Energy' whereby those champions who lead the way for sustainable energy (locally, regionally and internationally) come together to share and disseminate information.

The Ace partnership brings together four distinct capacity sets:

  • ICT capabilities for energy-smart cities, villages and regions.
  • 100% energy self-sufficiency in a village.
  • Community-based sustainable energy technologies.
  • ​New business models for sustainable energy.

Ace project achievements:

  • Regional and international academy awards ceremonies to recognise outstanding sustainable energy champions in the participating countries in North West Europe.

  • Political and scientific stakeholders met and formed strategies for sustainable energy in North West Europe.

  • Champions and stakeholders associated with the Ace initiative excelled by learning and mentoring each other through staff exchanges and workshops.

  • Delivery of exemplar demonstration sites to inspire replication in other European regions.

  • Development of innovative business models for sustainable, community-based energy projects.

  • Creation of a marketing plan for renewable energy, including a communications and public engagement strategy for North West Europe.

Exemplar Ace demonstration sites

These are intended to enable shared learning and to provide best practice examples of projects that can be replicated across Europe. They include:

  • The 5Cube. The 5Cube is a renewable energy design feature, which was launched in June 2015 by Dublin City Council and Codema at Hanover Quay in Dublin’s Docklands. This new landmark is a physical interpretation of how much oil Ireland is consuming every five minutes. It is the first installation of its kind to send a powerful message about Ireland’s dependency on fossil fuels and the need to switch to renewable energy sources.
  • Loenen village. The village of Loenen is located in the municipality of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. The village was announced as the winner of the Dutch “Energetic Villages” competition in July 2013 and the inhabitants were awarded a budget by the Ace project to invest in renewable energy so that they can work towards becoming an energy-neutral village. Loenen is starting the ‘energy transition’ journey with a holistic approach, encompassing the reduction of energy demand and increased local energy production with a strong focus on citizens and local business participation. The Loenen project involves the purchase and installation of 430 solar panels, generation and auxiliary equipment for the generation of 4kW hydropower at the water mill and insulation of buildings, including the local industrial plant.

We contributed to the Ace project by:

  • Organising energy champion workshops - with the objective of consolidating the knowledge and experiences gained during the projects, and facilitating the exchange of this knowledge within the network of project partners and observers.
  • Developing guidance for engaging with citizens about renewable energy - by developing a website which provides tips and detailed case study examples to help communities engage people as they initiate, plan and deliver sustainable energy projects.
  • Analysing various approaches and recommendations - with a view to producing best practice guidelines for citizen engagement in the form of action packs to help communities set up sustainable energy projects and sharing with the Ace network and partners.

For further information, please visit the Ace website.

Related services

Services to Communities

We've been working with communities for the past twenty years. We've helped to put in place large-scale renewable energy projects, but have also been involved in the much smaller-scale projects which engage local groups to change their behaviour and reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.

Project Management & Development

We have extensive experience in effective project management and development. With our diverse skill set including: technical, communication, public engagement and facilitation expertise we can support any project large or small; in the UK or beyond. In addition to our ability to write successful funding bids, our skills enable us to provide comprehensive project support.

Community Energy Project Planning

If you're looking to develop a community energy project, we can help you choose the most appropriate technologies. However, before you start on your project, it's best to begin by asking yourself some basic planning questions.