Greater Manchester Green City Region. Creating a greener, greater city region differently

Oldham Community Power outside NEON Hub community centre

COALESCCE: bringing community energy together across Europe

The aim of the project is to boost the community owned renewable energy sector in Greater Manchester and across six European partner regions in Germany, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. The project enables the partners to learn from each other through a series of peer reviews and study visits, and to embed community energy in their regional climate change action plans.

 

In Greater Manchester a wide range of organisations have been involved in COALESCCE, from local authorities to installers, community energy groups to consultants and universities. Two very well attended action planning workshops were held, in early 2018 and 2019, and the outputs from these informed the first and second GM Green Summits, and the GM 5-year Environment Plan. For the first time in GM, community energy has a headlining status in the city region’s Vision for action on the environment. The community energy sector in GM also has its own dedicated action plan through the COALESCCE project.

 

Oldham Council and COALESCCE have also supported the development of a new online tool called “Power Paired”. Developed by Forum for the Future, the Power Paired website enables community energy groups to find potential sites for renewable energy developments. Property owners are able to list their buildings and other assets on the website, and community energy groups can browse to see if there are any potential development opportunities near to them. Power Paired was recognised through COALESCCE as being an example of best practice from the UK, and the concept has been shared with the six other European partners so that they can develop something similar in their own regions. Oldham Council are themselves using Power Paired to support the development of a potential Phase 2 of Oldham Community Power’s solar PV scheme for schools.

 

With the effects of climate change becoming ever more obvious, there has never been a better or more urgent time for local authorities and citizens to get involved with their local community energy group to develop a scheme. Already councils like Oldham, Salford, Trafford, Stockport and Bury are working with their local groups to develop schemes, and with support from COALESCCE and Power Paired, every council has the potential to develop a scheme.

 

Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said:

“In Oldham we believe in quite literally giving power back to the people.

 

“Community energy is a great way for residents to own a stake in their local renewable energy co-operative, get involved in tackling climate change and help us achieve our aim of becoming the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.

 

“Politicians come and go but in Oldham we want community energy to be permanent part of the borough.”

 

To find out about your local community energy group, please see the Greater Manchester Community Energy Pledge website:- http://gm-communityenergypledge.org.uk/

 

For more information on Power Paired, please go to https://powerpaired.org/

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