Developing Community Energy Projects in East Cambridgeshire – update

This event took place in June 2023. We are planning a follow-up event in October 2023. Over the next few weeks this post will be updated with additional resources.

We are aiming to inspire and encourage potential “Community Energy Champions” in local communities from across the whole of East Cambridgeshire to develop their own local community energy projects.  

As part of a National Campaign – “Community Energy Fortnight” running from 10-23 June 2023, the East Cambridgeshire Climate Action Network brought together a number of local and national experts with experience of developing and running community-based projects like Energy Clubs, community wind turbine, community solar PV farms or Community centres that utilise Ground or Air Source Heat pump technologies.

Local community energy groups can take a wide variety of different formats. They could be local energy clubs where people get together to share experiences of reducing energy costs and improving the energy efficiency of their homes. Or it could be local residents getting together to put solar PV panels on their roofs and being able to get a good deal from a supplier who could install ten systems locally rather than just one. The local residents have a greater “bargaining power”. Another local project could involve the installation of a local community Solar energy Farm or a community wind turbine. Churches, schools or community centres could have an air of ground source heat pump installedThe key thing about these community energy projects – is that they are initiated by LOCAL people and WANTED by the local community. However, it often requires local “Community Champions” to get the ball rolling! This could be an individual person or a group of keen enthusiasts to develop the idea and engage with local people to get the support of the local community.

This event was aimed to bring together potential Community Champions from across East Cambridgeshire and present a number of speakers locally and from across the UK in order to stimulate ideas for local Community Champions to go back to their local communities and to develop their own projects.


  • “Introduction – From Energy Clubs and Housing Retrofit Support Groups to Solar & Wind Energy” – Peter Bates, East Cambs Climate Action Network
  • “New opportunities for Community Energy” – Lorna Dupre, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment & Green Investment Committee 
  • “Local Area Energy Plans and Community Energy Policy” – Eithne George, Cambridgeshire County Council
  • “Experiences in setting up a Community Solar Farm” – Charlotte Cane, Company Secretary and Paul Robinson, Chair, Reach Community Solar Farm 
  • “What does Energy Local CIC Do?” – Amy Chanley-Parry, Community Engagement Executive, Energy Local CIC
  • “From Derelict Building to Internationally Recognised Award Winning Community-based Eco Building” – Bridget Smith, Gamlingay EcoHub
  •  “Setting up a Community Wind Turbine” – Chris Smith, Founder and Director, Gamlingay Community Turbine

We hope that all participants went away with ideas and develop a Plan of Action with their local community.

After the event – developments will be supported with an online community discussion Forum and additional resources that I am collating now.

In October 2023 it is planned that there will be a 2nd follow-up face to face or online event to share local action plans as projects develop to fruition.

Additional resources will be continue to be added to this page.

If you have your own Community Energy Project in East Cambridgeshire or in the neighbouring areas and would like to take part please contact Peter Bates


Rural Power – Countryfile – BBC – 11 December 2022

Younity – is an organisation to support community energy groups. Their website states:- 

“All around the country, community groups of all shapes and sizes are working together to change the way we produce and consume power, through locally-led renewable energy projects. With the support of our friends at Your Co-op Energy and Octopus Energy, Younity is here to make sure they succeed. In fact, we won’t rest until community energy has earned its place at the heart of sustainable power.”

We are taking part in Community Energy England’s “Community Energy Fortnight 10-23 October 2023. Click on the logo below for more resources. And remember we intend to continue beyond June 2023 – with more activities from September 2023 onwards.

Press release 11 May 2023 – “Improved rewards and benefits to be offered to communities backing onshore wind farms”

The Government is considering broadening the benefits packages for areas that agree to have local onshore wind farms. It considers:-

  • Communities that wish to host onshore wind infrastructure should benefit directly from it
  • government proposals will put communities at heart of energy plans and embed best practice of developer engagement into the planning system
  • with costs of onshore wind having already fallen dramatically, today’s measures will help boost the UK’s energy security and reduce household bills. Click on the image below for more information.

Community Energy South brings together Community Energy Groups; Community Organisations; Partnerships and Corporate Organisations and Individuals. Anyone with an interest in developing locally owned energy and providing local community energy action can join Community Energy South. Their website contains some excellent resources, including Masterclass Webinars on Community Energy. Click below for more information. 

Clink on the image below for a Community Energy Masterclass on “Communities, parishes & solar farms: working together”.

Swaffham Prior Heat Network – in East Cambridgeshire – has renewable heat network that delivers instant heat and hot water to homes across the village using a combination of three renewable technologies Ground Source and Air Source Heat pumps and electric boilers linked to Solar Farm and the National Grid via a sub-station. Click below for more details.