Blog by Molly Walsh, Friends of the Earth Europe’s community energy campaigner, and a co-author of our new handbook Community Energy: A practical guide to reclaiming power.
To change our energy system we need everyone
We are facing a convergence of crises. All seem interconnected. From our climate to our health, economy, society, and democracy.
Our world needs a rapid exit from all fossil fuels, and to transition from an extractive economy to a regenerative society. One part of that picture is the energy transition. We need a new, just energy system that is 100% renewable, democratically owned, and doesn’t compromise the well-being of future generations.
Community energy is part of the answer
Community-owned energy is one practical way forward out of multiple crises. By putting energy back in the hands of people and communities, we can take on climate and social challenges collectively.
The climate crisis often feels like it stems from a lack of community and democracy. But we have also seen during the COVID-19 pandemic how quickly instincts for mutual aid and collaboration can emerge.
Community energy can revitalise your local economy, by creating local jobs, reducing energy bills, and helping money stay in the community. It strengthens communities, reduces energy poverty and enables people to cut their energy consumption – thereby reducing potential local opposition to new renewable energy projects.
Millions of people across Europe are stepping up, growing their own food, reusing and upcycling used products, creating sharing communities, resisting fossil fuel projects, and running community spaces. Community energy initiatives in particular have great potential to tackle climate change.
New handbook helps people to get involved in community energy
A beautiful new handbook is here to give you the tools to get practical and join these movements for local action. Taking practical steps to initiate projects and change things with others in your community is the best way to relieve climate anxiety.
Community Energy: A practical guide to reclaiming power is a useful and inspirational handbook, packed with instructions, practical tips, powerful success stories and invaluable resources to build a local, community-led renewable energy revolution. From tools on how to put a group together, to advice on technology and legality, to guidance on overcoming barriers that pop up.
So if you might be thinking about setting up an energy community, but aren’t sure where to start; if you’re a group or local authority making plans; or if you’re just curious – this practical guide is for you!
Call to energy transition action
We need all hands on deck to transform our energy system. Climate breakdown is not inevitable. People are taking matters into their own hands, and building a new energy system that works for all.
A better world lies ahead. You and your community can be part of building it. To change our energy system we need everyone. The sooner you start, the better!
Ten reasons to get into community energy
- You’ll be building the system needed to stop the climate crisis
- Community renewables redirect money supporting the fossil fuel system
- It can reduce energy poverty in your area
- You’ll get to know your neighbours and strengthen your community
- You will produce your own renewable energy
- It creates spaces to educate people on the issues of energy, climate and democracy
- It keeps the money locally in your community
- You will show other communities what is possible
- It will contribute to creating a more local, more circular economy
- You will be building the kind of world you want to see