Northern Powergrid is backing the growth of community energy in the region with the launch of two new initiatives.

The network operator has launched a Net Zero Community Energy Fund to help tackle the barriers groups are facing when it comes to getting projects off the ground. The fund will provide targeted assistance to build the capacity and knowledge of community energy organisations, encouraging more new projects that could bolster energy independence, reduce the impact of increased energy prices, and help achieve net zero emissions targets.

Northern Powergrid is offering support for projects at the early stages - from enabling access to the right expertise or training to exploring feasible project ideas and encouraging new and existing community energy organisations to develop their projects. In-kind support or grants up to £10,000 are available for groups exploring local net zero action, with applications assessed bi-monthly until 31 July 2022.

In parallel, Northern Powergrid will also continue to deliver free online training sessions for community energy groups in its region over the summer.

The network operators is also playing its part in creating more opportunities for networking within the sector with the launch of its ‘Put your community on the map!’ campaign. Community energy and climate groups are being invited to add details about their activities and interests to a new interactive map to help them get the right support, have visibility, and find other like-minded, local organisations.

Challenging geopolitics and energy price increases highlight the importance of creating local opportunities for energy generation that are affordable and low carbon.

With community organisations providing energy efficiency and fuel poverty advice, delivering emissions reduction projects, distributing food vouchers, creating local jobs, and employing volunteers, they provide many social, environmental, and economic benefits.

But developing low carbon, local energy projects can be complex, particularly for volunteer-led organisations. Northern Powergrid’s initiatives seek to enable the support needed to change this and open the door to more community energy opportunities in the future.

Anda Baumerte, Northern Powergrid’s Sustainability Manager, said: “Our vision is one for a thriving, connected, and strong community energy sector in our region, where decarbonisation, resilience, energy democracy, energy security, and innovation go hand-in-hand.”

Community energy organisations across the UK delivered £3.13 million of community benefits in 2020 and generated enough electricity to power the equivalent of 100,000 homes. By 2030, community energy could save £150 million in consumer bills, redistribute £19 million to the local economy, and create 8,700 jobs, according to Community Energy England.

Northern Powergrid has been a long-standing advocate of community energy. Since 2014, when the network operator launched its community energy support programme, it has seen a marked increase in community groups interested in energy and emissions reduction projects, but a slow growth in new projects or initiatives.

In 2020, Northern Powergrid published its Community Energy Engagement Strategy, formalising 26 commitments to support the groups in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

Since then, Northern Powergrid has had over 6,000 interactions with community energy stakeholders, delivered 20 of their 26 commitments, and held six community energy forums.


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054