Amble harbour investigates community energy solutions

Earlier this year, Locogen was awarded a contract with Tees Valley Combined Authority to be their framework partner for the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF). The RCEF is a funding scheme that provides technical and financial support to help rural communities across England looking to set up renewable energy projects in their area.

The £10 million fund offers rural community groups ‘stage 1’ grants of up to £40,000 to carry out a feasibility study for a renewable energy project and ‘stage 2’ grants up to £100,000 for business development and planning of feasible schemes.

Five RCEF Community Energy Hubs

The RCEF is run by five regional local energy hubs, with Tees Valley Combined Authority supporting community groups operating in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber areas of England to deliver community renewable energy projects.

Community energy is in the DNA of Locogen and we were delighted to be given the opportunity to work with Tees Valley on the RCEF programme.

As framework partner, Locogen has already supported several community groups with applications for the first two of six application rounds to secure Stage 1 RCEF funding. It was great to see that in July, our first two community groups were awarded funds, allowing us to commence a two-phase feasibility study on their behalf.

Our First RCEF Community Energy Projects

The first of these community energy projects is focused on the land and buildings owned by the Warkworth Harbour Commissioners in Amble, Northumberland. The WHC are keen to explore a broad range of renewable technologies, including solar PV, energy storage and various heat pumps in order to decarbonise the energy supplies across the harbour. This is a great opportunity to find the best solution to benefit a wide range of stakeholders across the community

In our second RCEF project, we will be working with a consortium of rural village halls in the Ryedale area of North Yorkshire. The project will primarily consider opportunities for rooftop solar PV and battery systems, and we will be providing tendering support for the installations. The scope of this project is particularly exciting and challenging, as it will allow us to support renewable energy development in the 28 participating communities all at once.

Angela Woodburn, from Warkworth Harbour Commissioners, said: "We're excited about this project as it will benefit a wide cross section of the Amble harbour community, including business tenants and local charities such as the RNLI and the Coastguard."

Charlotte Mitchell, RCEF project consultant at Locogen, added: “The RCEF provides rural communities with crucial funding to move projects through the feasibility and business development stages. This builds solid foundations for these projects, ensuring they deliver the desired benefits for the communities involved.”

You can learn more about the RCEF here and our work in community energy here.