Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE) is a not-for-profit enterprise set up in 2010 with the aim of delivering renewable energy, energy supply and energy efficiency projects through a community-owned energy model.
BWCE are now one of the largest community energy businesses in the country, and have helped build a wide range of community owned solar PV projects and one small hydro scheme, as well as recycling nearly £300,000 back into local community projects through their charity.
As well as creating renewable energy BWCE is committed to supporting communities to reduce carbon emissions; running projects with the aim of changing behaviour towards energy consumption and supporting local community projects that promote carbon reduction or alleviate fuel poverty. They support other community energy groups too; so far helping seven projects raise £8 million through community fundraisers.
“We are committed to community energy and the power it has to bring people together to address climate change, whilst also generating significant local community and economic value”Bath & West Community Energy
Investment from donations to ecolibrium’s Energy Revolution climate solutions programme in 2021 will contribute to BWCE’s new fund to develop further community solar generation projects, in particular roof top solar on schools within the community, which will reduce the cost of energy for the schools and significantly reduce their annual carbon emissions. ecolibrium member’s donations will also help BWCE and build on the following key strands of work:
BWCE’s primary purpose is to mitigate climate change by helping to reduce carbon emissions caused by electricity generation. Their projects currently generate around 12,500 MWh per year, enough electricity to meet the equivalent annual demand from nearly 4,000 typical UK homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of the full carbon footprint of nearly 1,000 local residents. The investment from ecolibrium will help them install more solar PV systems and further reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Encouraging behaviour change
BWCE encourages their membership to talk about climate change and community energy and to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. Many of the schools they have worked with have used their solar PV systems as an educational tool.
Generating Community Benefit
To distribute their community fund, BWCE set up a charity called the Bath & West Low Carbon Community Fund CIO. Since formation in 2010, they have gifted nearly £300,000 through the charity. Grants have been made to a wide variety of local community projects, including:
- Bath Carnival, to run a series of workshops across the city with children, parents and special needs groups, to help build non-motorised and electric powered forms of transport for the carnival.
- Time Bank Plus, to fund a development worker for their ‘Growing Together’ programme which offers free training for people who want to grow their own food, whether from their own garden or from an allotment.
- The Bath Carers’ Centre, for a new lighting system for the Carers’ Centre in Bath. The centre helps over 4,000 people every year caring for family and friends with illnesses or disabilities.
- Age UK Bath & North East Somerset, to raise the profile of fuel poverty and provide information, advice and support on keeping warm and healthy to 1,750 older and more vulnerable people in the local area.
Support for Other Community Energy Groups
BWCE have supported other community energy projects to raise £8 million through community fundraises and to install 13MW of renewable energy generation, enough to power 4,000 homes.