In 2016, Grimsby Community Energy formed with the intention of building on Grimsby’s thriving renewables industry to develop sustainable energy projects in the local area. Director Vicky Dunn said the idea for the cooperative was born from a group of people “wanting to do something for the community in Grimsby” – and that aim quickly became a reality.
In the same year it was founded, the cooperative made good on its first goal to invest into local clean energy sourcing. With a community share offer and start up-loan – all of which Power to Change fund matched – it installed 100kW solar panels on five buildings in the community. Since then, the business has been going from strength to strength, always working towards its key goals of reducing both energy costs and emissions produced in the Grimsby area.
Coping with Covid-19
Thankfully, the cooperative wasn’t affected too badly by the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, Vicky commented that “working remotely has actually been positive, because one of our board members moved.” Losing members who move on from the community can be a big loss within small organisations, but with remote working firmly established as the new normal, Grimsby Community Energy has been able to keep working with this board member despite his physical absence.
Future and current successes
Grimsby Community Energy has supported many local businesses with training and support networks, saving them thousands on their energy bills.
The cooperative recently secured the opportunity to install 94kW of solar panels on the roof of the newly refurbished YMCA Humber building. It’s a fantastic project with two main goals: to construct a place for Grimsby’s most vulnerable young people to seek support, and to generate renewable energy for locals.
As one of the first new buildings in an area undergoing mass redevelopment, the group is looking at ways this new space can benefit from the green power generated from solar panels, such as installing electric vehicle charging stations and microgrids. This would help the YMCA generate better income from its solar panels and promote the use of electric vehicles in the area.