Four power stations' worth of locally-owned renewable schemes could be installed by 2020 if the Government supports community energy, it was claimed today.
A coalition of organisations including the Co-operative, the National Trust, the Church of England and the Women's Institute are calling for measures to boost the community renewable power and energy efficiency schemes.
They want national targets for community energy, promotion of local ownership to increase public acceptance of renewables, Government-backed advice and support, higher subsidies for community schemes, tax breaks for investors and access to finance through the new green investment bank.
The organisations, who represent 12 million members, are meeting with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey today to launch a "manifesto for a community energy revolution" setting out the measures they say are needed.
The Co-operative estimates that the UK potential for community-owned renewable energy installed by 2020 is 3.5 gigawatts, the equivalent of four conventional power stations.
But it is difficult for co-operatives to compete in the energy market as regulations and incentives are designed for bigger players.
Paul Monaghan, head of social goals at the Co-operative, said: "The majority of people in the UK want to see a massive increase in renewable energy, however there is a powerful minority set against this.
"Community-owned renewables offer a brilliant way to break this logjam, and this manifesto sets out what needs to happen in order for this to happen.
"Our towns, villages and districts are full of hundreds of groups all chomping at the bit to do their bit to generate and save energy locally and fight climate change."
Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: "There is huge enthusiasm for co-operatively-owned energy.
"But it is very difficult for co-operatives to compete in the energy market as regulations and incentives are designed for the bigger players.
"With the forthcoming Energy Bill and the community energy strategy, Government has a chance to put this right and make sure that co-operative and community schemes can contribute to a diverse low-carbon energy economy."
Patrick Begg, rural enterprise director at the National Trust, said: "Community ownership of energy projects helps to reassure communities that development is not being foisted on them via processes over which they have little control.
"Community energy empowers communities to democratically control their own energy in locally appropriate ways.
"We, like the rest of the Community Energy Coalition, are ready to work with the Government to dramatically increase community owned renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes."