THE power of the Dorset community is being brought to bear on the ways power is generated and used in the county.

Community involvement is a key part of the government’s recently-published Community Energy Strategy.

In response to that a Bridport-based company, Community Heat & Power, has been launched to enable communities to benefit from the transformation in the way energy is being generated and used in the UK. When a renewable energy development is proposed, either by a community itself or a local land-owner working with a developer, there are a number of options which local people and renewable energy developers are encouraged to explore.

The aim is to develop constructive ways to spread the benefits of these projects more widely.

The government’s strategy also recognises that there needs to be an intermediary organisation to provide the knowledge and know-how to negotiate connections and investment opportunities between communities and potential partners in the private and public sectors.

Community Heat & Power Ltd (CH&P) has been designed to act as a catalyst for these partnerships, helping to scale up community energy projects through shared ownership, and to initiate new local collaborations and links into the wider community energy sector.

Based in Bridport, CH&P works with communities and developers from the outset.

The company consults with the community, and develops a project plan, helps communities to attract feasibility study funding, provides support through the planning process, explores community investment opportunities and finance models.

CH&P director, Hannah Love-grove said: “We want communities and developers to build a better project, with the long-term aim of reducing energy bills and fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency and resilience, and offering a return to investors, large or small.”

Ms Lovegrove said that funding is critical to the long-term success of these very expensive projects.

“Through its industry connections, CH&P can bring funders together with a community, the developer and any local authorities involved to form a new community utility company.”

More information can be found on the website