Key consultations affecting the community energy sector have been published

20/07/2018

Dear members

The consultations that we have been waiting for seven months have now finally been published. The consultation on the closure of the Feed-In Tariffs Scheme after March 2019 and the call for evidence on the future for small-scale low-carbon generation were published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday. Summaries of both consultations are available here

Although the end of the Feed-In Tariff Scheme (FiTs) after the end of March next year will come as no surprise, BEIS are also now proposing the closure of the export tariff alongside the generation tariff.

A positive outcome that we do welcome relates to pre-registration and pre-accreditation for community energy schemes. Community installations of 50kW and below that apply for pre-registration on or before 31 March 2019 would receive a 12-month validity period in which to commission and apply to their FiTs licensee for accreditation. BEIS also proposes that community installations over 50kW that apply for pre-accreditation on or before 31 March 2019 continue to get the standard additional 6-month period on top of the relevant validity period for the technology (6 months for solar PV, 12 months for anaerobic digestion and wind, and 2 years for hydro).

The call for evidence on future support options explores the challenges and opportunities from small-scale low carbon electricity generation in contributing to government’s objectives for clean, affordable, secure and flexible power. It also seeks information on the role for government and the private sector in overcoming these challenges and realising these opportunities. Proposals are vague, but much emphasis is being placed on market-driven options and competition. There is a reference to the role that community energy can play in supporting those in fuel poverty, with CEE member Plymouth Energy Community being included as a case study. However, BEIS itself acknowledges in the report that much of this activity to date has been funded through FiTs revenue.

This is a key opportunity to evidence to government the extra impact that community-led energy projects have in delivering local energy solutions.

We will be submitting a response to both publications and would welcome members’ input to ensure that we submit as robust and compelling a case for community energy as possible. Please get in touch if you are intending to submit your own response, are able to input into ours, would like to add your organisation’s support to our submission or all of the above. We will circulate draft submissions to members for comment in the next couple of weeks.

Another publication yesterday was the government’s response to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) consultation, which sets out the policy of the scheme that will run from Autumn 2018 until March 2022. We will include a briefing on this in the next member newsletter.

BEIS has also announced the dates for the first ever Green Great Britain Week- an annual week designed to highlight the opportunities that clean growth offers the UK and raise understanding of how the private sector and the public can contribute to tackling climate change. Launching on 15 October 2018, Green Great Britain Week will feature a series of events to celebrate the leading role of the UK’s civil society, academic community and businesses in progressing a smarter and cleaner economic growth. 

Further details on the programme will be announced shortly, but one of the themes for the week will be climate action in communities. Linked to this, the annual Community Energy Awards will be taking place on Friday 19th October at The Arnolfini in Bristol. In light of yesterday’s announcements, it will be more important than ever to showcase what community energy has achieved over the past 12 months, so don't forget to put forward your submissions by 29th July. More details are available here.

As ever, if you have any queries, comments or contributions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Emma Bridge

Chief Executive
Community Energy England