Bath and North East Somerset Council has renewed its Cooperation Agreement with Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE) for a further five years, through to 2028.

This agreement will enable the organisations to continue proactively working together to identify energy projects within the district, opportunities for joint research about community-based projects and opportunities for people in the area to invest in renewable energy projects.

The initial Cooperation Agreement was signed in 2011, when BWCE was first set up by local people as a not-for-profit organisation, a business model which is historically recognised as a pioneering way for local authorities to support community energy. BWCE’s local share ownership model allows the majority of the economic benefits from projects to be retained in the area, with surplus revenues reinvested into the BWCE Community Fund. By March 2023, the fund had donated more than £330,000 to support local projects reducing carbon emissions and combating fuel poverty.

The renewal agreement was confirmed through a single member decision process. It contains small changes to the original agreement, to ensure it better reflects the organisations’ joint vision and includes signposting to the most up to date policies and strategies.

Councillor Sarah Warren, deputy leader and cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Sustainable Travel, said: “Bath and North East Somerset Council has committed to providing the leadership necessary for the district to achieve net zero by 2030 and our partnership with BWCE, through the Cooperation Agreement has played a leading role. It has given communities the chance to have a stake in renewable energy projects and helped to build community resilience in B&NES by generating local energy for local people through community owned renewable energy projects and the delivery of low energy services.”

Pete Capener, managing director, Bath & West Community Energy, said: “Our partnership with Bath and North East Somerset Council has been a critical factor in BWCE’s successful transition from a small voluntary organisation to one able to deliver large projects with an experienced and professional staff team. We are keen to continue growing this partnership, in support of our ambitious plans to increase the capacity of local community renewables, improve home energy efficiency and reduce household energy bills. We welcome the council’s continuing commitment to achieving net zero by 2030 and are looking forward to playing our part in building the grass roots movement necessary to make this a reality.”

The Single Member Decision can be found here.

You can find out more about BWCE on their website.