Representatives from six European countries met in Oldham in February to kick off a programme to share expertise in developing community energy projects.
Oldham is the lead partner of the five-year, European-funded COALESCE community energy innovation project, alongside partners in Spain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
The aim of the project is to increase the capacity for local renewable energy projects that keep the value of energy generation within the local population rather than it going to large national and multinational corporations.
In particular, COALESCE aims to tackle the “skewed” support for large energy infrastructure that offers “poor value” for local businesses, schools and community groups.
Residents and businesses in the Greater Manchester region have previously been asked to show their support for locally-generated clean energy by signing a Greater Manchester Community Energy Pledge.
Cllr Abdul Jabbar, deputy leader of Oldham Council, said: “Oldham is fast becoming a leader in helping to support community energy schemes.
“Through the knowledge and expertise we’ve built up, we’ve been able to support schools, community groups and residents looking to set up and invest in schemes like the Saddleworth hydroelectric power scheme and we want that to continue.
“It was interesting to meet likeminded people from across Europe and leading them on this project will help us to stay at the forefront of this growing trend and get access to their support and expertise.”
“We are always interested to hear from businesses, groups and households who want to set up or get involved in community energy schemes.”