Our partners

Imagining Alternatives with Feasts for the Future: our partners

Regen

Established in 2003, Regen is a not-for-profit social enterprise with a membership of over 260 businesses, local authorities and community groups working towards the development of a low carbon economy. 

Regen is a widely recognised national leader in community energy with an extensive network within the sector as well as among policy makers and regulators in government. They have a network of 250 community energy groups locally and 500 across the UK. Regen work closely with Community Energy England (a member of the Regen team sits on the board), Community Energy Wales and Community Energy Scotland. The primary aim of our partners at Regen is to create benefits to local communities and local jobs by enabling innovation in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. 

Regen have supported over 30 communities to successfully develop energy generation projects. 

In their experience, it proved important for communities to engage with a narrative about how our energy past was different, and therefore, how we can grasp opportunities for a different energy future. For example, Wadebridge Renewable Energy network in Cornwall has a presentation that starts with a picture of a van labelled “Wadebridge Energy Company 1906” and finishes with a vision of a locally owned energy system.

This shared local vision on energy is becoming increasingly important. Recent government policy changes mean that sustainable energy projects, particularly onshore wind, need to show local backing through neighbourhood plans. However, the visioning process for neighbourhood plans poses a real challenge. It is often expensive and time consuming, which means that most areas do not have them at all. If they do, they rarely include any provision for sustainable energy projects.

‘Feasts for the Future’ will enable our partners at Regen to:

  • Raise awareness of the need for positive local and neighbourhood plans that support sustainable energy projects.
  • Gain new knowledge about how the process of imagining a better future can and might support communities, so changing how they engage with groups in the future.
  • Provide a vehicle to stimulate visioning of a positive future within communities, with this process leading to the development of local plans which incorporate sustainable energy.
  • Generate new ideas regarding community engagement with energy related issues, that will be fed into future engagement work and policy making.
  • Enhance its profile within the sector: both locally, through the supported ‘Feast’ events, and nationally, through networks with Community Energy England and others.
  • Share outcomes with a wider audience and therefore open up new channels that will inform future strategies.
Regen will be inviting all the local community groups in their network to participate in the workshops and ‘Feasts for the Future’, and around 9000 people will hear about the project as it develops through the Regen S. W. newsletter. Regen will also be contributing to the website by developing a toolkit for use by ‘Feast for the Future’ ambassadors. They have already been commissioned by Government to write a best practice guidance on community engagement for wind energy, and a toolkit for community heat networks, so they have considerable expertise in this regard. They are also currently working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on an event in October 2018 which will examine decentralised energy through a ‘local lens’ as part of a call for evidence.