Local energy communities

Generating and sharing clean energy and heat through local energy communities.

Through our Energy Strategy we are committed to supporting the development of local energy communities in West Sussex that will help businesses and communities transition to clean energy and take action on climate change.

A local energy community brings together users and small-scale energy generators in an area to influence the development of local energy systems and increase benefits for people. This often includes:

  • investment in renewable energy systems, such as solar photovoltaics (PV)
  • batteries to store renewable electricity
  • heat pumps
  • district heating.

The community invests and collectively reaps the benefits of the investment in terms of reduced energy costs and environmental impact. Local energy generation can also help to improve the stability of the grid.

Re-Energise Manor Royal

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) played a key role in setting up the county’s first local energy community at the Manor Royal Business District, working with the Manor Royal Business Improvement District and Crawley Borough Council.

Through two EU initiatives, the Interreg 2 Seas-funded BISEPS and LECSea projects, the authority drew in external funding, energy expertise and peer support from similar projects in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. This enabled feasibility studies to be carried out and an operating model to be established for the local energy community.

Other support was made available by the Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit to explore the potential for a district-wide heat network and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership to create the community’s first business plan.

Re-Energise Manor Royal launched in March 2023 and now works on behalf of businesses to attract investment into the business district and deliver new clean energy projects, such as roof-mounted solar panels and batteries to store clean electricity. Its first new energy project has been approved and is ready for delivery.

Over time the community will increase the amount of clean energy generated, shared and used by local businesses and to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, helping them to take control of their energy supply and move towards net zero operation.

Re-Energise Manor Royal has been set up as a Community Benefit Society and operates on a not-for-profit basis. It will reinvest the financial surplus it makes from selling energy and other services into new energy projects that benefit members and the wider community.

For further information about the our work to support local energy communities to develop and thrive, email energy.management@westsussex.gov.uk.

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Last updated:
10 July 2023
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