The benefits of being in a community energy group

HOME 5 Reports and Publications 5 The benefits of being in a community energy group
The Next Generation programme supported survey research with 205 members of three community energy groups to explore the difference that community energy made to their lives.  
In recent years, community energy businesses have played an increasing role in tackling global climate change issues, as well as funding projects and taking action to reduce fuel poverty in their communities. Power to Change champions the role of community businesses in improving local places and tackling issues of concern to local people.  Through the Next Generation programme, Power to Change has supported a number of community energy businesses and has helped them to gather evidence about the impact they make.

The Next Generation programme supported survey research with 205 members of three community energy groups that are structured as ‘Community Benefit Societies’. The aim was to find out about their members, many of whom owned community shares in these group, and explore the difference that community energy made to their lives.  

Key findings were that:

  • Most members are motivated by addressing climate change, not financial return.
  • Membership of these groups can prompt members to adopt pro-environmental behaviours.
  • Most members would like to invest in community energy again and – assuming that bank base rates remained low – don’t expect a large return on their investment.
  • Most members agree that their group is well run and communicates effectively.
  • Membership of these three groups is currently fairly diverse in terms of income level, but less so in terms of gender and ethnicity.