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Powering Communities with Renewables Workshop

By phoebeb
30th January 2024

In February, we held a workshop to talk to community groups, councils, and CPRE supporters in the West of England about how we could support your pathway to renewable energy.

In February we offered a free workshop for towns and parishes in the West of England, supporting their transition to renewable energy using CPRE’s Community Energy Visioning (CEV) process.

The climate emergency poses one of the greatest threats to the countryside. CPRE is working to help communities move towards more renewable energy like solar, wind and hydro power.

The Community Energy Visioning (CEV) process is intended to show how renewables can be designed well in the countryside in a way that empowers rural communities.

At the same time National Office is running a campaign to promote rooftop solar energy, influencing national government to harness roofs and protect our countryside in the journey to net zero.

At CPRE Avon and Bristol we wanted to hear from people about the ambitions they have for developing community projects and what opportunities and barriers they were experiencing on along the way.

As part of this work, we ran a free workshop on the afternoon of 22nd February at the Engine Shed in Bristol. We had presentations from CPRE’s Head of Policy and Planning Paul Miner, Marion Britton from the West of England Combined Authority, and Marianne Brown from Bristol Energy Cooperative. There was also an opportunity for Participants to share their insights on the challenges they have experienced on their journey to low carbon energy and explore ideas on what would help them on their way. Participants were put into small groups for discussion.

The workshop examined

  1. The importance and benefits of community energy, and why rooftop solar energy is important.
  2. The pathways to low carbon neighbourhoods and parishes, and how costs, resources, and landscape sensitivity can be balanced.
  3. The organisational, financial, and planning challenges for community energy schemes.

What did participants take home?

  • An understanding of the opportunities and challenges in developing a community energy proposal, and of CPRE’s Rooftop Renewable Campaign.
  • Information on the CPRE Community Energy Vision process.
  • Know where to go and who to ask to get more information and take the next steps.
  • Information on the planning framework and how local planning authorities, town and parish councils, and community groups can take action.
  • What help is available from CPRE and others including local authorities.
  • Motivation and inspiration to take your group onto the next step.

If you are interested in reading about what was discussed, please find the report attached here


Thank you to Quartet Community foundation who awarded us funds and made this project possible.