People up and down the country are eager to be part of the clean energy transformation, but our energy system is skewed in favour of large energy companies, rather than supporting communities to manage, generate and benefit from their own energy. Planning rules often stop communities and social enterprises from developing green, local energy, and pricing rules mean that communities don’t get a fair price for the clean energy they produce. We need fair taxes and fair planning and market rules to allow everyone to play their part and share in the benefits of a clean energy future.
There are three clear low-cost ways that Government can support Community Energy:
- Retain the Feed in Tariff (FIT) generation and export tariffs for community energy projects – or introduce a modified ‘Community Feed in Tariff’.
- Reinstate the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) to community energy projects
- Extend the Contract for Differences (CfD) mechanism to sub-5MWe schemes and create a specific tranche for community energy generation projects, with a clear schedule of when rounds were to be announced.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is due to publish its decision on Feed-In Tariffs and Export Tariffs imminently (you can read our response to the consultation here). We need to keep pressure on the government to continue to support community energy. We are asking all community energy groups to add their voice by writing to their MP. To support this, Regen has prepared a draft letter and briefing pack which you can access here.
Other ways that Government could foster a thriving community sector include:
- Setting clear goals to boost the uptake of community energy (such as that already seen in Scotland) Working with the sector to establish an ambitious new strategy to achieve these goals.
- Working with Ofgem to ensure forthcoming proposals for RIIO2 and network and transmission charging forum fully consider the issues around the siting of smaller scale generation, where closer to energy consumers, on the distribution network.
- Harnessing the strength of community energy to overcome recent challenges faced by Government, such as the smart meter rollout and the deployment of energy efficiency measures.
- Utilising the strengths of community energy to support the consumer journey on Government’s plan for a ‘smart energy’ system.
- Building on successful community energy fuel poverty alleviation initiatives.
- Supporting the development of ‘behind the meter’ solutions allowing a greater amount of distributed generation to be matched with local demand.
- Ensuring a truer reflection of the costs of deploying small-scale systems against more traditional, centralised generation plant.
For more details on these asks, take a look at our consultation responses.