Bristol City Leap has launched a dedicated Community Energy Fund to provide financial support for the set up and development of community energy projects in the Bristol area.

Over the next five years the Fund will provide £1.5 million to community initiatives that help towards the decarbonisation of Bristol and secure long-term benefits for local residents.

This includes local renewable energy generation projects like wind power and solar, enabling a community to connect to the Bristol Heat Network, and initiatives that help reduce energy usage through behavioural change.

Community organisations, including charities, faith groups and schools, can apply for grants and interest free loans of up to £100,000 through the Bristol City Leap website.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy will manage grant applications and Bristol & Bath Regional Capital will facilitate any loans agreed. Bristol Energy Network will also be working with Bristol City Leap to provide support to community organisations in creating funding applications, developing project ideas and developing joint initiatives.

James Sterling, Communications and Engagement Manager for Bristol City Leap commented: “Our Community Energy Fund will help harness the ingenuity and commitment that exemplifies Bristol’s communities and enable them to thrive while securing a cleaner future for us all.

“Empowering and supporting local people during our journey to carbon neutrality is at the core of what Bristol City Leap hopes to achieve and we’re excited to see the first wave of funding applications coming forward from across the city.”

The £1.5 million pot announced today is funded by both Ameresco and Vattenfall Heat UK and forms part of Bristol City Leap’s ambitions to deliver a minimum of £61.5 million in social value over the first five years of its partnership.

Jenny Curtis, Managing Director at Vattenfall Heat UK said: “We’re looking to enable the ideas, ingenuity and innovation that exists in Bristol, adding more weight to the efforts to cut harmful emissions and enhance the city’s energy infrastructure. We’re playing our part by expanding the existing heat network across the city, but we know that real success is only possible by working with Bristol based organisations, businesses and local people, enabled by this new dedicated Community Energy Fund.”

Applications are encouraged across all communities in Bristol with particular emphasis on new community groups and organisations that have not previously received funding for their projects.

Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Environment, Ecology, Energy and Waste said: “Decarbonising the city’s economy is vital if we are to build a sustainable and climate resilient Bristol. We all have a role to play in achieving this goal, from the largest of organisations in the city, across all sectors and individual households. This new Community Energy Fund will provide significant opportunities for local groups to gain access to funds that will support them to play their part in reducing energy usage across the city.”

The Bristol City Leap Community Energy Fund’s launch event took place on the evening of 28 September at SPARKS Bristol and was attended by over 100 community organisations from across the city.

Interested community organisations can apply here on our Community Energy Fund page.