Oldham Council has welcomed visitors from across Europe ahead of the start of a new project to help develop community energy schemes.

Representatives from as far and wide as Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Germany all gathered for a meeting at the Civic Centre yesterday.

The meeting was the first step in a five year project which will see public bodies from across Europe work together to share expertise to help community energy projects get off the ground.

It will also compliment Generation Oldham; a local initiative which helps local companies and community organisations to install energy generating equipment and energy efficiency measures in their buildings and the Greater Manchester Community Energy Innovation project which does so on a regional level.

It is hoped the project, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will eventually help to develop new schemes and lower bills for local residents, businesses, schools and community groups who take part.

Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council, said: “Oldham is fast becoming a leader in helping to support community energy schemes.

“Through the knowledge and expertise we’ve built up, we’ve been able to support schools, community groups and residents looking to set up and invest in schemes like the Saddleworth hydroelectric power scheme and we want that to continue.

“It was interesting to meet likeminded people from across Europe and leading them on this project will help us to stay at the forefront of this growing trend and get access to their support and expertise.

“We are always interested to hear from businesses, groups and households who want to set up or get involved in community energy schemes so, if you or someone you know are interested in doing so, please get in touch and we will do our best to help and advise you.

“I hope to see many more examples of good community energy schemes coming forward in the coming years in Oldham.”

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