On July 21, we invited local authorities from across the UK to learn how to kick-start community energy in their cities. Our Community Energy Showcase event shared tools, techniques and tips from the top local and national community energy experts.

Local authorities face a future of austerity and budget cuts but still have ambitious carbon targets to meet. Community energy can help address both of these challenges, whilst supporting our communities to take ownership of energy.

By putting renewable energy technologies on community buildings or financing and running solar farms, Bristol’s communities are benefitting from reduced energy prices and using profits to support other community initiatives.

We have a lot of experience in the area of energy and we’re really keen to offer expert advice to others wherever we can to grow the community energy movement beyond our city limits.

Bristol City Council is one of the leading local authorities supporting community energy. Our approach is still being developed, tried and tested to get even better results, but it already has the potential to become a model of best practice nationally. We can really see the benefits for our communities and for the city, so it’s only right that we spread the word.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

Our energy successes are the result of real partnership working with communities across the city. The wealth of local organisations in Bristol plays an invaluable role in developing bespoke initiatives that really deliver on the specific needs of the individual communities.

The event was attended by more than 30 local authorities across the country, including from Devon and Southampton. All those attending left with a pack of ideas and considerations for starting their own community energy movement back home.

I found the Bristol Community Energy Showcase a very inspiring day and have taken away several ideas, along with guidance, for where I can find further information about potential future projects.

Bristol City Council has demonstrated that local authorities joining forces with their community can achieve big things.  We already have links with our local groups and will now be exploring the possibility of what we can do working together.

Jane Altouyan, Southampton City Council 

Bristol City Council owns 40% of the city’s buildings and continues to unlock these properties for community energy groups to host rooftop solar projects. Also, don’t forget about our Bristol Community Energy Fund offering small and large grants to local community organisations until 8 August 2016! More information on the fund can be found on our Grant funding page.

In addition to an excellent line-up of guest speakers, we also had a very talented visual notes artist in attendance who captured the key themes and discussion of the day. An image of the visual notes can be seen below (courtesy of Nat Al-Tahan from NatAlt Design). You can also see an image gallery of shots from the event at the base of this article.