A green scheme that will provide cheaper renewable energy and on-the-job training programmes for residents has been launched in Hackney.
The Hackney Energy initiative will lead to the formation of a cooperative, owned and run by the community, whose objective will be local power generation.
Repower London, a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in community based energy programmes, will provide support for the initiative along with Hackney Council.
Repower London’s CEO Agamemnon Otero emphasised how initiatives such as this can “empower communities, allow them to be more self-sustaining” and ultimately help to alleviate poverty.
He referred to an identical initiative in Brixton that has provided job opportunities and apprenticeships for school leavers and people out of work in a variety of areas, including the installation of solar panels.
Similarly to Brixton, Otero expects Hackney Energy to “directly address fuel poverty issues, bring local people into the process, train them and create local leaders.”
Highlighting the trend of national policies on green initiatives, Otero praised Hackney Council for “wanting to be at the forefront of renewable energy”.
Deputy Mayor of Hackney Sophie Linden said: “The aims of the co-op and, in particular, the actions to promote energy efficiency, reduce fuel poverty and get young people into work, are ones that I and Hackney Council fully support”.
In addition to improving energy efficiency, the project will also allow for ethical investment, with residents allowed to buy into the scheme.
The announcement regarding which estates in Hackney will be the first to benefit from the scheme will be made soon, with the installation of the panels expected to begin in Spring this year.