Taking Steps to Build a Community Energy Project
This guide has been designed to help guide you through the steps needed to build a successful community energy organisation capable of embarking on ambitious renewable energy projects.
It is the result of 30 years collective experience in growing community sustainability groups. It is informed by expert research and practice. We recommend that you follow the guide in a step by step basis as doing so will give your organisation strong foundations capable of making beneficial partnerships with policy makers, finance providers, state agencies and other stakeholders.
Steps Week by Week
The steps are taken in monthly increments – this is the ideal time between meetings: it enables members to take time, research ideas, make contacts, and avoid burnout.
To get the best value out of this guide, follow the steps and complete the progress forms as you go. They will help you give the best possible foundation to your community group.
Wk1 Inform friends and community of intention to form a committee.
Good community projects usually start with one person having one good idea. However, they don’t succeed if that’s where they remain. To grow a community organisation, that one person with the seed of a good idea has to build a network around themselves to help nurture that seed.
Start simple, where you’re most likely to succeed. Explain the idea to friends and family: recruit them as allies, as partners in a growing project. Ask them for feedback, for new angles. Not everybody will want to get involved, but you can probably recruit two or three people to begin with. You need them to really commit however, this will likely be a fairly time-consuming and lengthy project. Their interest may drop off after a while, but you need to get them to agree to help out for at least a couple of months until things get moving. You need to be up front and say that you will be forming a steering committee.
Set a date for the first meeting of that committee. Arrange a suitable location (a room in a community hall is preferable because you will be establishing a contact there for the future), set out and agree an agenda and maximum meeting length (11/2 hours is more than enough)
Research the field:
Look at some good examples of successful community groups: https://www.sparkchange.ie/success-stories/ so that you can bring these stories to the first meeting. Share your research before the meeting – you don’t want to have a presentation, you want to have a discussion and come to decisions at the meeting.