Two weeks ago I attended the launch of Community Energy England (CEE), and was part of a packed 250 strong delegation in Holborn, London. The event was excellent, with speakers from the interim CEE board and a range of practitioners from regional advisory groups and individual projects. The need and desire for the existence of CEE was clear for all to see amongst a respectful and cohesive delegation.
CEE is needed as a voice in a country that could be doing a lot better in terms of both general renewable energy uptake and community ownership. It was stated categorically that CEE aims to help communities to own an expanding slice of an expanding cake, rather than an expanding slice in a cake with a diminishing rate of growth! Unlike Scotland, England has no official targets and until recently had no nationwide community energy support programmes. Many of the people in that room have worked for years to make headway with very little policy support.
I will be interested to see how CEE fares as a membership organisation, with uncertain political support for the general renewable energy agenda in England. Policy trends are going in the right direction for community energy, but at times the prospects for the overall cake look rather worrying.
Congratulations to the interim board for managing to launch the organisation - it must have been a long and arduous journey. Buona fortuna!