Image: Octopus Renewables.

A joint venture aimed at breaking down barriers preventing community energy projects from coming on-stream has been relaunched by Octopus Energy and the Midcounties Co-operative.

Younity – which was previously known as Co-op Community Energy – already has partnerships with 100 community generators, with the renewable energy from these partnerships powering the ‘Your Co-op Energy’s Community Power’ tariff, which was launched in January 2020 as the only tariff in the UK to come solely from community power projects.

The joint venture will investigate innovative ways to make funding more accessible for community energy projects, while also continuing to provide direct financial support through the Community Power Fund. This fund is financed through the tariff, and has already made grants to support the ambitions of six community energy groups in the UK.

Additionally, customers who choose the tariff will soon have the option of investing directly into new and existing projects through a small addition to their monthly bill.

The joint venture was originally launched in November 2019 following the Octopus Energy and Midcounties Co-operative forming a strategic partnership, which saw Octopus take on 300,000 retail customers from Co-op Energy in August 2019.

Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation said that community energy projects are “a giant leap in the right direction in cleaning up the UK’s energy mix”.

“With Younity, alongside Midcounties Cooperative, we aim to inspire the next generation about all the benefits that this powerful movement encapsulates.”

Other community energy initiatives currently underway in the UK include Riding Sunbeams' work on providing a route to market for community energy groups who are looking to develop and connect solar projects to regional rail network operators and Social and Sustainable Capital announcing in January plans for a dedicated renewables investment committee to expand its work in community renewables.

Additionally, in November 2020 Low Carbon agreed a deal with social enterprise Low Carbon Hub for the rights to a 19MW solar farm with battery storage potential, with this to be the largest community-owned solar farm in the UK.