Exeter Community Energy wins national Community Energy Initiative award

ECOE directors Andy Extance and Prina Sumaria join founding director Sonya Bedford to celebrate the recognition of ECOE’s ongoing fight against climate change and fuel poverty. Credit: Regen/Tom Smith Photography

ECOE directors Andy Extance and Prina Sumaria join founding director Sonya Bedford to celebrate the recognition of ECOE’s ongoing fight against climate change and fuel poverty. Credit: Regen/Tom Smith Photography

Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) has been announced as the winning Community Energy Initiative at this year’s UK Green Energy Awards. ECOE’s win primarily reflects its Healthy Homes for Wellbeing scheme, which has helped people around Devon out of fuel poverty.

The scheme has assisted 2,590 homes in 2021, saving clients an estimated £1.3 million. Specifically, it advises households on how to reduce their energy bills. This therefore also cuts their carbon emissions and fights climate change. Healthy Homes sits alongside ECOE’s original solar power generation activities, which help community buildings save money on electricity bills.

“ECOE’s original chair and CEO Gill Wyatt wanted clean energy projects to help the poorest,” said ECOE director Andy Extance. “This award finally reflects ECOE’s hard work doing that, from paid contractors to volunteers and members who fund us.”

Growing recognition

In 2021 eight Healthy Homes advisors ran clinics at 12 venues in Exeter, Mid Devon, East Devon, Teignbridge and Torbay. They have become an integral part of these centres’ community service. For example, the team has built up a network of over 750 key workers that they work with, receiving over 80 new referrals each month. It has added more advisors in 2022.

Indeed, this is the third award in two years for the Healthy Homes team. In fact, in May 2021, it won the Southwest Energy Efficiency Award 2020/21 for outstanding vulnerable customer support. After that, in April 2020, Tara Bowers, Healthy Homes project manager and ECOE director, won a national Heat Hero award. This recognises the achievements of those who have gone above and beyond in their work to help keep people warm in their homes.

Taking bold action
ECOE director Andy Extance (right) receives ECOE’s Green Energy Award from sponsors Western Power Distribution. Credit: Regen/Tom Smith Photography

ECOE director Andy Extance (right) receives ECOE’s Green Energy Award from sponsors Western Power Distribution. Credit: Regen/Tom Smith Photography

The Green Energy Awards are a leading national celebration of innovative technologies, pioneering companies, and inspiring individuals shaking up the energy system and driving towards a zero-carbon future. Regen, a leading centre of expertise in the transition to net zero energy, also based in Exeter, hosts the Green Energy Awards. It is sponsored by specialist grid consultancy Roadnight Taylor.

In conclusion, Merlin Hyman, chief executive, Regen, said, “The 2022 Green Energy Awards showcased the extraordinary range of innovative zero carbon solutions available. The inspiring award winners and nominees demonstrate we can end our addiction to fossil fuels.”