Community Strategy for Energy
The Strategy was launched during the Big Green Week on Friday 21st June 2013 by Bristol’s Mayor, George Ferguson and Iris Eiting of Re:Work Ltd on behalf of the network. Alongside the strategy George also launched Bristol Solar City, an initiative to make Bristol the UK’s solar capital. It has been hugely influential with elements incorporated into the then coalition governments national community energy strategy in 2014 as well as being recognised as contributing to Bristol’s European Green Capital year in 2015.
The Bristol Community Strategy for Energy
This Bristol Community Strategy for Energy has been developed through the Bristol Energy Network by local community groups and the organisations that they work with. The Strategy sets out aims and steps for community level action on energy and seeks to enable local community groups to work in collaboration with local authorities, the private sector and third sector organisations on sustainable energy issues.
It is driven by international and national targets for reducing carbon emissions, concern over climate change impacts, the growing cost (and reduced availability) of cheap fossil fuel, dependence on imported gas, and by fuel poverty highlighting economic disparities across Bristol.
This strategy focuses on reducing energy use in domestic and non-domestic buildings through increased energy efficiency and energy conscious behaviours, an increase in community-led ‘green’ electricity generation, and hence to address fuel poverty and increase the community’s resilience to rising energy costs.
The community energy sector has the potential to play a key role in addressing these issues. The strategy recognises that there is already a significant level of action across the city through the council, third sector organisations like the Centre for Sustainable Energy, businesses, social enterprises, and grassroots community groups. However more, and better co-ordinated activity towards core goals will make the vision more achievable.
‘Putting communities at the heart of Bristol’s energy system’
Our vision is for
“a city where everyone has access to sufficient affordable low-carbon energy for their needs; where wise and innovative use of energy empowers citizens and enhances the economy, with active communities across the city generating and managing a significant amount of their energy need.”
The Bristol Community Strategy for Energy is set out along five themes: Community resilience and fuel poverty; Understanding energy and behaviour; Energy efficiency and low carbon technology; Renewable energy generation, and; Local economic development. Under each theme broad goals are stated and indicative steps outlined.
The strategy is a living document that sets out some core ambitions and aims but to make it a reality, all organisations involved will need to think about what actions they can take within the framework to make changes on the ground.