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Bristol Energy Cooperative

Who benefits

Bristol Energy Cooperative aims to provide subsidised renewable energy to community organisations in the area. It installs projects that are reducing the impact of climate change and increasing energy security, whilst at the same time generating significant community benefit and support for the local economy.

Renewable energy

BEC now owns and operates over 9MW of solar capacity, which provide enough electricity to power 2,300 average homes.

Community Fund

BEC makes community benefit payments from its project revenues. So far it has facilitated over £250,000 of such payments. This has been done in a number of ways.

BEC – together with fellow energy co-operative Low Carbon Gordano - runs the Megawatt Community Energy Fund. Members of both organisations have participated in choosing which applicants receive grant support and in 2019 the projects supported were:

Bedminster Energy Group – funding towards a community asset-mapping and engagement project.

Bristol Community Land Trust – funding towards the provision of ground-source heat pumps in a new build Community Learning and Enterprise Centre in Lockleaze, Bristol.

Clevedon Community Association – funding towards the cost of replacing the boiler at the community centre with an energy efficient model.

Congresbury Scouts and Guides – funding the purchase of a learning thermostat to replace the group's existing rotary thermostat and boiler programmer.

Crockerne Primary School – funding toward the installation of new LED light fittings and bulbs at the school.

Incredible Edible – funding for the planting of fruit trees at community garden sites across the region, to be planted as part of an increasing urban city wide orchard, with the aim of raising awareness of climate change and reducing fossil fuel consumption by increasing local food production.

Life Cycle UK – funding for additional workshop equipment and parts to increase the capacity of the Bristol Bike Back project, which provides accredited mechanical training for prisoners at HMP Bristol and sells refurbished bicycles to local people, encouraging the increased use of low carbon transport.

Lockleaze Community Orchard – funding a rain-water capture and storage system on a community orchard site in Lockleaze, with the aim of reducing fossil fuel consumption by reducing the distance food is transported.

Nailsea School – funding towards installing energy efficient LED ceiling panels that will help the school reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Sea Mills Community Initiatives – funding towards the cost of providing food-growing after-school club sessions, materials and equipment to set-up a permaculture-focused forage garden trail and hot composting at the community garden site that will serve the local community cafe, with the aim of raising awareness of ways to reduce the impact of climate change and helping reduce fossil fuel consumption.

St Pauls Adventure Playground – funding towards the set-up of weekly environmental awareness sessions at the playground with a focus on improving air quality and increasing biodiversity in the local area.

The ReUsery – funding towards the cost of a pilot set of open-access sessions to teach and promote re-use skills, especially sewing and upcycling, with the aim of reducing energy demands and fostering a culture of self-help and re-use.

Ujima Radio – funding towards the production of a set of a monthly radio shows exclusively devoted to environmental issues as they impact on Black and Minority Ethnic populations, that aim to raise awareness of climate change, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and reduce fuel poverty.

Willsbridge Mill Community Refresh - funding towards the cost of a feasibility study for installing a mini hydro scheme at the mill, with the aim of raising awareness of ways to reduce the impact of climate change and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Other beneficiaries

BEC, in partnership with Bristol-based Centre for Sustainable Energy, promotes the Bristol Sustainable Energy Research Fund ( This provides small bursaries for research on sustainable energy and climate change in the West of England.

BEC members vote at AGMs to provide financial support to organisations such as Solar Aid and Aid Box Community.

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