Community Energy – innovation and resilience in a post-subsidy UK.
The last year has seen dramatic changes throughout the UK renewable energy sector, particularly due to the closure of the electricity Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and energy export tariff mechanisms in March 2019. These changes are expected to lead to reduced prospects for community and locally-owned renewable energy projects. Adapting to the emerging post-subsidy landscape, the community low carbon sector is now increasingly founded upon innovative technologies, business models and partnerships.
Recent reports, including those by Green Alliance, Regen, and the UK Energy Research Centre, have outlined the likely impacts of such a dramatic shift in energy policy, and detailed the emerging opportunities. But what really happened in the community energy sector in 2019?
The State of the Sector 2019 showed that:
- 2018 was the toughest year yet for community energy
- The removal of the Feed-in Tariff was already having dramatic impacts
- Communities were concerned about the future of the sector
- Community energy continues to demonstrate resilience and determination
- Community energy across the UK is in need of a more supportive and coordinated policy framework
The State of the Sector 2019 report can be accessed here. The data below summarises the direct impact these challenging development and operating conditions had on community energy schemes throughout 2018, as recorded by State of the Sector 2019.
The State of the Sector 2020
Community Energy England, Community Energy Wales and Scene Connect are preparing to launch the State of the Sector survey for 2020. The study will investigate and detail how communities have been impacted by recent changes in community energy policy across the UK, and how the future of the sector is taking shape. The State of the Sector 2020 (SOTS20) will be the most extensive to date, including regional research in partnership with energy network operators.
Launching in January 2020, the State of the Sector survey will invite all low carbon communities across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, to describe how policy changes have affected their organisations, energy projects and local communities. The survey will be comprehensive, exploring both changes to the sector over the past year, but also looking ahead at likely scenarios and outcomes for the sector in the future.
Community Energy in a post-subsidy landscape
We need the support of UK communities to ensure that this year’s report can continue to advocate for, and support, community-led energy and are asking community energy groups to schedule a couple of hours in January to complete this vital work for the sector.
The SOTS20 report and data will help policy makers and researchers to better understand how things have changed in the past year, particularly focusing on:
- Changes to the Feed-in and Exports Tariffs;
- Post-subsidy strategies to finance;
- Emerging technologies and business models;
- The wide-ranging social, environmental, and economic values of the community energy sector in the UK.
The State of the Sector 2019 report was cited in numerous reports and presentations by a range of stakeholders from government officials, to academics, journalists, think tanks and other supportive organisations. The diversity of organisations using the report and associated data to advocate for the sector demonstrates the need for this to be as representative and up to date as possible.
The data from SOTS will also help Community Energy England and Community Energy Wales to advocate for the necessary changes in low carbon approaches and policy to unlock new opportunities in the community energy sector. Alongside data and knowledge sharing, these changes will enable local energy projects to provide the wide-ranging economic, social and environmental benefits that the sector is capable of delivering.
Getting in touch
All low carbon communities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be contacted in January 2020 to request support and survey input.
To find out more, please contact the project team using the details below. If you are not aware of the State of the Sector project or have never filled out a State of the Sector survey, please get in touch so that we can add you to our survey.
+44 (0)131 603 8821
The State of the Sector 2020 report will be launched in May 2020, with a publicly accessible database for communities, policy makers and researchers.