Community energy projects bring benefits to local groups across England by helping them to maximise the income-generating potential of renewable energy and put this income to work in their area. By increasing the uptake of locally owned renewable energy, these initiatives support the Government’s targets for reaching net zero.

Projects like these benefit the communities by promoting rural growth, creating new jobs and volunteering opportunities, and enabling communities to access the economic benefits associated with renewable energy schemes.

Community Energy Fund – open now

The Community Energy Fund (CEF) is a £10m grant scheme for urban and rural communities to develop energy services to benefit their local area.

The funding will help to kickstart clean energy projects including small-scale wind farms and rooftop solar partnerships, as well as battery storage, rural heat networks, electric vehicle charging points. It can also be used to fund fuel poverty alleviation schemes such as energy efficiency, retrofit, and advice projects.

The CEF aims to empower local people to take control of their energy future by:

– Increasing the number of community-owned low-carbon energy assets

– Supporting communities to reduce energy cost and demand

– Generating local income through community-owned energy assets

– Reinvesting income locally and kickstarting private investment

– Supporting local jobs, growth and volunteering opportunities

– Enabling places to benefit from clean, renewable, local energy

The fund will achieve its aims by supporting the earlier-development stages of community-scale projects.

About the funding

Funding will be offered for a:

Stage 1 Feasibility Grant of up to £40,000 to produce a feasibility study to establish the technical and financial viability of a project and/or

– Stage 2 Development Grant of up to £100,000 for a more detailed investigation of the technology, for planning applications and to develop a business case.

Please note: the fund is for the development of projects from concept to investment-ready scheme. It does not provide capital funding for the installation of projects themselves.

Who can apply to the CEF?

The fund is for eligible community-based organisations on England with projects that will bring benefits to the local community. These are:

– Amateur sports clubs

– Charitable Incorporated Organisations

– Community Benefit Societies

– Community Interest Companies

– Co-operative Societies

– Development Trusts

– Faith Groups

– Pre-commencement societies

– Registered charities

– Registered Social Landlords (partnered with a community group)

– Town or Parish councils

Applicants need to show that a good level of community engagement has been carried out and that there is genuine community support for the project, including plans for ongoing community engagement.

How to apply

The Community Energy Fund is a national scheme funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. The five Local Net Zero Hubs across England will be delivering the fund, with the Midlands Net Zero Hub supporting projects in the Midlands. Please read through the guidance below and send your completed application form to the Community Energy Fund inbox.

Stage 1 applications

Stage 1 Feasibility Grant of up to £40,000 to produce a feasibility study to establish the technical and financial viability of a project.
– Stage 1 Application Guidance

– Stage 1 Application Form

Stage 2 applications

Stage 2 Development Grant  of up to £100,000 for a more detailed investigation of the technology, for planning applications and to develop a business case.
– Stage 2 Application Guidance

– Stage 2 Application Form

Supplementary documents

– Community Energy Fund Feasibility Report Structure

– Subsidy Control

– Privacy notice

The next round is open for applications until 16th February 2024. Subsequent rounds will follow every three months in financial year 2024-25.

If you have any questions about the application process, email us at communityenergyfund@nottinghamcity.gov.uk.

If your community groups is in another region, you can apply through your Local Net Zero Hub: Greater South East Net Zero Hub, South West Net Zero Hub, North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub, or North West Net Zero Hub.

Rural Community Energy Fund

The first iteration of the scheme was the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF). This £10 million programme supported rural communities to develop renewable energy projects with a community benefit. It was delivered by the five Local Net Zero Hubs in the North East, North West, Midlands, South West, and South East on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

Scheme successes

Through RCEF, we’ve assisted community groups to secure vital funding for their renewable energy projects. 

Liaised with 420 Community groups

SUPPORTED 35 projects through stage 1

SUPPORTED 7 projects through stage 2

Feasibility studies

Take a look at the feasibility studies for our RCEF projects to be inspired for your own community energy project.

Funding opportunities

Got a project that needs funding to help you get started? Take a look at our round-up of opportunities in the Midlands and beyond.