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City Council hosts national conference on Community Energy

Osney Hydro

Local authorities and communities from across the UK will converge at Oxford Town Hall this Thursday for a conference to discuss how they can successfully work together to scale up community energy nationally.

Hosted by the City Council, the Powering UP! conference will be addressed by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Rt Hon Edward Davey MP, who launched the UK's first ever Community Energy Strategy in January this year. 

Other key speakers include Jo Colwell and Councillor Bob Price from Oxford City Council, Rebecca Willis from Co-operatives UK and Pure Leapfrog, and Ed Gillespie, co-founder of sustainability communications agency Futerra.

The conference is being organised jointly by the OxFutures partnership and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Oxford is a pioneering city in the area of community energy with the City Council, community groups and the Low Carbon Hub working together with Oxfordshire County Council to drive community energy projects forward in the local area.

In June the Low Carbon Hub received a loan of £2.3million from the City Council to enable them to install solar panels on more than 25 schools and businesses in the area this summer. These projects together will generate over 1MW electricity and save 750 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. They are part of a pipeline of community solar and micro hydro energy projects that the Hub is developing across Oxford and Oxfordshire

Councillor John Tanner, Board Member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford says: "I am thrilled that this national conference is taking place here in Oxford. There is a huge local interest in community energy and a large number of renewable energy projects happening in Oxford. I look forward to sharing our experiences and learning from other local councils and communities at the Powering UP! event."

Oxfordshire County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Cabinet Member for Environment says: "This is a very exciting national event taking place here in Oxford. Last year 60,000 people across the county took part in community sustainability events. With our OxFutures partners, we’ve got lots to share and we can’t wait to learn from other groups to do even better."

The conference will be followed in the evening by the first ever UK Community Energy Awards in Oxford Town Hall. The City Council and the Low Carbon Hub are both shortlisted for awards. 

Released on Tuesday 2 September 2014

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