The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has launched a new online renewables marketplace to help connect community energy groups with the expertise, finance and logistical support needed to get projects off the ground.

The platform’s launch coincides with the release of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) new Community Strategy. The plans include the creation of a £10 million Urban Community Energy Fund and the formation of a community dedicated unit at DECC.

The REA platform allows groups to pitch for help with a variety of renewable projects from solar to biogas, linking them with the financial sector, technical specialists or potential contractors.

“The marketplace is one concrete step which the REA is taking to help foster business partnerships between the renewables industry and the wider economy,” said Gaynor Hartnell, former chief executive of the REA and now its community energy adviser.

“It is well suited to community energy groups who need equipment, advice or a developer to partner with,” she said.

“The marketplace is not just for community groups, though. Renewable energy presents opportunities for businesses and public sector organisations too. It can help reduce energy costs and carbon footprints, generate new revenue streams and turn wastes and residues into valuable resources. I hope the Marketplace will help bring forward new business partnerships between REA members and the wider economy,” she added.

The service is free to use and currently features three live posts included an abattoir looking to explore biogas potential and a willow coppice looking to supply biomass.