Empowering Community Energy by Ollie Pendered


On 27th February, well over 200 community energy representatives packed a room at Portcullis House for an All Party Parliamentary Group discussion on the latest status of the community energy sector. There was a great turnout, with many ‘out of London groups’ attending. Community groups came from across the country and Wales, including Community Energy Pathways groups from Hampshire, Essex, Suffolk, Central Bedfordshire and Surrey. It was clear that everyone went out of their way to attend, but sadly it was reported that over 150 people queued and were turned away. 

The event was hosted by Selaine Saxby MP. We heard from Dr Alan Whitehead and Wera Hobhouse. Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, provided apologies, seemingly at the last minute, which was disappointing. The Minister did provide comment via Ms Saxby indicating that the promised community energy industry public consultation into the barriers blocking community energy from flourishing is still being developed but is held up in the cogs of Whitehall.

Representatives from Essex Community Energy Groups with Ollie Pendered, Community Energy South CEO

The Public Consultation for our sector was promised by the Energy Minister back on 5th September 2023. Why is this being delayed and taking so long to come to fruition? Is it that the Government is nervous to get evidence on the momentum and the obvious take up of local community energy initiatives by our communities? The evidence was clear from attendees providing examples of communities looking at insulation, heat solutions and traditional community energy solar schemes. It provides much confidence that the sector is being helped by the Community Energy Fund, a £10 million fund for the sector. We now need to gather the evidence and bring together the narrative created by our community energy organisations across England. Also, through a consultation, we need to hear from the wide range of stakeholders who benefit and work alongside community energy – such as our Local Authorities and Electricity Network Operators.

We are #StrongerTogether. One thing is for sure – there is a swell of excellent local community activity happening around the community energy sector. There is also unprecedented support from Local Authorities who are starting to embrace the benefits of working with their communities on the energy crisis and reaching local net zero.

Here’s how everyone can help:


By Ollie Pendered
CEO, Community Energy South