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Celebrating outstanding achievements in community energy

25th October 2023

We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for a Community Energy Award.

At CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire we have implemented two Community Energy Visioning projects, in response to the growing need for community-led renewable energy initiatives. This alternative planning approach recognises the importance of the local landscape, gives a voice to the priorities of rural residents, and empowers communities to pro-actively prepare for a future with more renewable energy. We call it Community Energy Visioning.

The award nomination includes two Community Energy Visioning projects in South Yorkshire and the Peak District which have been shortlisted in the community engagement and inclusion and award category. The category recognises the exceptional commitment of community energy organisations in England to build sustainable communities through inclusive, long-term, measurable, relevant, and sustainable community engagement.

Community Energy Visioning in Bonsall

We teamed up with CPRE Derbyshire to facilitate three community workshops in the village of Bonsall, near Matlock. During the workshops, we spoke to over forty people who shared their opinions about the future of this rural community. Read the full outcome from the Bonsall Community Energy Visioning project.

Community Energy Visioning in Woodsetts

We hosted three community workshops in the village of Woodsetts near Rotherham to help residents explore where and how renewable energy could be generated in the countryside. Read about the Woodsetts community project.

It’s thanks to generous funding from MCS Charitable Foundation that we were able to deliver this approach at a local level, following successful pilots by CPRE, the countryside charity.

The Visioning Process

The community energy visioning process involves a series of workshops

  1. The first workshop explores what is important to residents and why
  2. The second workshop investigates the energy needs of the local community and which types of renewable energy people might be willing to adopt
  3. Finally, residents explore possible locations for their preferred renewable energy solutions

After the workshops are complete, we write up the results into a vision document and work with local artists to produce illustrations. These depict the future of the local landscape with the renewable energy schemes proposed.

CPRE PDSY consultant, Andy Tickle tells us more; “Our process allows the local community to understand its energy needs and enables them to take important steps towards greener energy and allied CO2 reductions, by reducing energy demand and increasing the supply of local renewable energy sources. In doing so, we hope to give local communities a voice so that they can help improve and protect their local environment.”

The Community Energy Visioning projects were welcomed by residents, with locals in Bonsall commenting; “Credit for revitalising the lapsed Bonsall Energy Group must sit with the CPRE’s facilitator and volunteers. They offered structure and knowledge together with encouragement and enthusiasm and so enabled diverse personalities to conjure a unified vision to progress the work. The professionally produced report with its high quality visualisations is a most valuable asset to the village group. It stands as an ‘ambassador’ signalling excellence, ambition and commitment. Thanks are due to the CPRE team and the artist for their quality of work and commitment.”

The Community Energy Awards

The Community Energy Awards is an annual event that recognises and celebrates outstanding achievements in community energy. This year’s prestigious ceremony, supported by Electricity North West, will take place the Lowry Theatre in Manchester on Friday 17 November. The ceremony brings together individuals, organisations, and initiatives that are making significant contributions to the advancement of sustainable and locally-driven energy solutions.

Special thanks to Karen Bradley and residents from Bonsall