Urban Community Energy Fund launched
£10m fund for renewable and low-carbon energy projects
Today is the day that CSE and community groups up and down England have been waiting for: the launch of DECC’s £10 million Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF).
UCEF will give community groups in England the opportunity to bid for grants of up to £20,000, or loans of up to £130,000 to help kick-start their projects. Successful projects will pay back their loans, thus allowing the fund to be replenished.
The fund is being administered by a partnership between CSE and Pure Leapfrog – a charity that has supported over 100 community projects with either finance or investment readiness support.
“This is a great step forward” said CSE’s Chief Executive, Simon Roberts. “UCEF provides the opportunity for community groups to break through the financial barriers to developing renewable energy projects at a meaningful scale. There are still plenty of challenges for community groups to overcome, but this fund enables them to access and pay for the professional expertise they need to succeed.”
The fund was launched by Secretary of State Ed Davey at Harvey’s Brewery in Lewes, West Sussex, the roof of which bristles with solar PV, part of a project with community energy pioneers, Ovesco. He said: “This is all about investing in renewable energy sources, creating jobs and changing the way renewable energy is developed in the UK.”
Pure Leapfrog’s Chief Executive, Robert Rabinowitz, said “UCEF comes at a great time for the community energy sector, helping to plug a much needed gap in the project development phase.”
UCEF is a counterpart to the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) launched in summer 2013. Between the two, a project anywhere in England could be eligible for finance. Large grants and loans will be available to encourage projects of scale and ambition. Grants will support projects through the more speculative, early stages of development. Subsequent loans are available for development to the stage where a project is ‘investment ready’.
To be eligible to apply for UCEF funding a group needs to meet certain criteria. The first of these is location: whether the project is based in an urban area, as defined by the Office of National Statistics.
We’ve produced a map that will tell you if your project is urban or rural and therefore if you need to apply to the urban or rural fund. Click here to go to the map.
Beyond location, there are also questions such as ‘Is your community group incorporated?’ that you will need to answer to find out if you’re project is eligible for UCEF funding. Click here to download the eligibility checker.
If you have any questions, please do give UCEF a call on 0800 038 6345.
For projects that appear to be eligible, it is recommended all groups contact UCEF directly, to discuss their proposals and for help producing the strongest application possible.
To contact UCEF, call 0800 038 6345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.