North Kensington Community Energy — using renewable energy to make positive change in their community

“We create tangible change, which makes it easier to believe that wide scale change is possible.”

Members of North Kensington Community Energy accepting their Green Heart Hero Award in 2020

North Kensington Community Energy was founded to address the high level of income disparity in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Since it began, NKCE has installed solar panels on community buildings in the borough, and used the profits made for positive community actions. These actions include helping those living in fuel poverty by providing guidance on energy saving measures as well as practical solutions such as home insulation.

NKCE also helps young people to get involved in climate action. Their youth training programme provides young people with practical skills that will help them find jobs in a green economy. The trainees develop skills in solar making and installation, as well as low carbon technology.

Supporting their community whilst also protecting the environment is why NKCE won the Inspirational Community Project Award.

We spoke to them to find out their motivation behind their youth workshops and also advice they have to aspiring community projects.

Part of your work provides free workshops to young people in your community. How do you inspire young people to get involved in the climate movement?

“We inspire the young people we work with by showing them there are many tangible ways they can take action for the climate. The young people in our society have been told there is a problem from a very young age, but we find they haven’t been given a constructive outlet to express their fears and do something about it.

By offering workshops and practical work experience we’re demonstrating that there is positive action they can take as individuals, which is multiplied by working in a group. We create tangible change, which makes it easier to believe that wide scale change is possible. The school strike movement shows that our young people are dedicated, empathetic change makers, they just need opportunities to put their energies into.”

Making smoothies using bicycles at their Greener Living event

What further changes would you like to see in 2021 to protect our planet?

“We need to stop burning fossil fuels, right now. Every tonne of CO2 released now makes our task of remaining under 1.5°C of warming that much harder. We believe the best routes to this are to empower communities to make changes, through participatory governance, finance, and legislation. In 2021, we at Repowering are working on business models to scale community energy across London to create a fair, democratic, decentralised and zero carbon future.”

Is there any key advice you would give to other community groups that would like to improve the sustainability of their area but don’t know where to start?

“Create your vision, keep going, share your problems, and bring people with you on your journey. Whenever we have a significant challenge, somebody appears to help us solve it. It’s amazing how much people want to help, even if they don’t have the capacity to join your group officially. So don’t forget to speak to other community groups as there is a wealth of knowledge and expertise out there.”

Members of North Kensington Community Energy in front of the solar panels their project funded

Is there an inspirational community project in your area helping to protect the environment? Why not nominate them for this years Green Heart Hero awards!

Head to https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/green-heart-hero-award-nominations-2021 to submit your nomination.

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The Climate Coalition

The Climate Coalition

The Climate Coalition is the largest group of people in the UK dedicated to tackling climate change, with our sister orgs @SCCscot and @SCCCymru