01 February 2012
The Church of England today joined a coalition of civil
society leaders from UK organisations with more than 12 million
members to call for community energy to play a substantial role in
meeting the country's climate change targets.
David Shreeve the Church of England's national environment
adviser along with leading figures from The Co-operative; the
National Trust; The National Federation of Women's Institutes; and
Campaign to Protect Rural England met Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of
State for Energy and Climate Change, to launch their joint 'vision
for community energy'. The coalition supports dramatically scaling
up the number of community owned renewable energy projects across
the country, and discussed with the Government officials
including Mr Huhne can best assist.
"The Church of England has a presence in every community with
16,000 churches nationwide and is engaging with environmental
issues through its Shrinking the Footprint campaign. We fully
support community energy projects as a way of working together to
provide a clean, secure energy supply and to help heat and
electricity become more sustainable for all," said David
At the same time, The Co-operative launched its Community Energy
Challenge, a competition which will result in six communities
across the UK receiving support to set up their own energy
projects. The Co-operative is setting aside £1 million in 2012 to
support community energy. This will involve everything from
mentoring for start-ups through to the underwriting of co-operative
share offers in local co-operatives.
Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals at The Co-operative, said:
"We want nothing less than a clean energy revolution, with
communities controlling and benefiting from their own renewable
energy. Talk of a new dash for gas shales, which could see up to
3,000 wells installed across the UK, highlights the choices we face
- more and dirtier sources of fossil fuels or clean energy owned
and controlled by communities."
Patrick Begg, Director of Rural Enterprise at The National
Trust, said: "Many other European countries are way ahead of the
UK, as we found out when visiting German communities last year.
Germany produces over 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable
sources, with communities generating about a quarter of this. In
the UK, less than 1 per cent is generated by our communities, a
figure this coalition wants to dramatically increase by 2020. Today
we are asking the Government to support us in this."
Ruth Bond, Chair of the National Federation of Women's
Institutes, said: "The WI has been active on renewable energy since
the 1970s. We see community energy as people working together, not
having schemes imposed on them. This is a great opportunity for our
7,000 WIs across the UK to tackle climate change and leave a legacy
for the next generation."