On Monday 27th January, Calderdale Council Cabinet voted to accept proposals for the Council to set up a community benefit society, Calderdale Community Energy, in partnership with local third sector organisations like Hebden Bridge Alternative Technology Centre and Pennine Community Power.
Calderdale Community Energy will support the development of community renewable energy projects in Calderdale.
The proposals are detailed in a Report from the Director, Economy and Environment.
Without discussion, the Cabinet accepted the Report’s recommendations:
- To support the establishment of a community benefit society, Calderdale Community Energy Company, that would be legally separate from Calderdale Council but would have representatives of Calderdale Council on its Board.
- To delegate authority to the Head of Democratic and Partnership Services and the Director of Economy and Environment, to develop and agree the detailed government documents for this Company, and to take such measures as are necessary to establish the Company. The Cabinet noted that the governance proposals would go back to the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel before being approved.
- To provide £10,000 to support the establishment of the new Community Benefit Society
Introducing the Report, Cllr Barry Collins said,
“Today the government has just released its Community Energy Strategy, which includes funding for groups to develop home grown renewable energy projects. It also requires local authorities to support community energy groups.”
Cllr Collins said that setting up Calderdale Community Energy would put Calderdale in a very good position to bid for any of the Community Energy Strategy funds.
Green light to move forward
Speaking after the Cabinet’s decision to support the establishment of Calderdale Community Energy, the Council’s Carbon Projects Officer Emma Appleton said,
“I’m really pleased. The £10K is an “up-to” fund, for anything like financial modelling for community energy projects, licences, or community asset transfer. We’ve got £10K to spend to find out what we need to do. In terms of suitable Council land for community energy projects, we don’t yet have any particular sites. The only feasibility study that’s been done is for Cromwell Bottom and even Cromwell Bottom isn’t definite.”
The idea for Calderdale Community Energy came out of the community energy subgroup of the Calderdale Energy Future Panel.
Finn Jensen, a member of the community energy subgroup and of Pennine Community Power (PCP), said,
“The first thing is to find out what is feasible, including politically. We will have to develop a more detailed business plan. Emma will do the work of presenting another document for the Scrutiny Panel. The Alternative Technology Centre and PCP will come forward with work and ideas. We’ve been given the green light to move forward now. The government’s Community Energy Strategy has just been released today. It says local authorities are important partners in community renewable energy.”
You can read about the Community Energy Strategy here.