What is community energy?
'By placing democratic control, shared benefits, and active participation at the centre of energy generation and demand reduction projects, community energy can create a foundation for the... action needed to reduce the impact of climate change and to increase our energy security.' (Community Energy England)
Community energy has two main characteristics;
1. Energy is produced locally
2. People make decisions about it (e.g. what is done with profits) by consensus
Typical energy production in the UK is usually privately-owned, large scale, and transported to distant places via a centralized grid.
Producing energy locally overcomes several issues: high energy prices from energy companies driven by profit; having no control over our energy supply (such as in the face of a natural disaster); and the inefficiency of transporting electricity via a centralized grid (electricity is used up with distance travelled).
'A locally controlled energy system would be concerned with public interests, not private profits. Residents would have greater democratic say in their energy system, rather than having decisions about them made in distant boardrooms. Money earned in the sale of the energy could go back into the city or local area rather than lost to shareholders.' (Klein, 96-7)
In short, it makes sense for the people using the service to be in control of the utility, rather than a privately-owned company motivated by profit margins.