- About us
- Our work
- Get involved
- CEF17 is Powering Together!
- Why Community Energy Fortnight is so important - By Emma Bridge
- Community Energy Fortnight 2017 dates announced and news of a new collaboration
- The community energy revolution is evolving, and the future’s bright
- Investing in community energy schemes
- Energising faith communities: the Spirit project
- Community Energy - the way forward
- CEF16 dates announced
- The community energy revolution pushes on in face of storm clouds
- Blogs 2015
- Blogs 2014
We want to see communities playing a key role in reducing energy use and transitioning to a clean and affordable energy supply. So, we work to support community energy to flourish in the UK, by engaging policy makers and delivering targeted research to increase understanding of community energy, its benefits and how best to provide support. We’ve already had some success in doing this but are working hard to do even more!
The CEC members regularly review the areas that require the most attention in order to grow the community energy sector. Our current priorities are in ensuring that energy policy works to support the sector, and conducting research on the alleviation of fuel poverty in the UK.
In October 2012, the CEC published its manifesto on community energy, developed by The Cooperative Group and Co-operatives UK, to act as a basis for the Community Energy Strategy. The manifesto was a direct call to Government to help facilitate a dramatic scaling up of community energy.
Community Energy Strategy, January 2014
In 2014 the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched the UK’s first Community Energy Strategy. This has led to the formation of three working groups to help inform government policy on Planning and Permitting, Hydro-power, and Network Connections. The Community Energy Coalition is represented on all three working groups through specialist members and directly on the Shared Ownership Taskforce (see below for details).
Tackling fuel poverty
Government figures show that more than one in 10 English households is now living in fuel poverty, with this figure predicted to rise. We believe that community groups can make a big impact in addressing fuel poverty in their neighbourhoods, using local networks of trust and developing bespoke solutions, and so in 2014 we are focusing on policy work around fuel poverty.
The Coalition is currently researching the role of community groups in tackling fuel poverty, and will feed the resulting policy recommendations to DECC in response to their Fuel Poverty Strategy. This research includes all forms of community action that can help tackle fuel poverty and considers a number of routes for communities to work together, covering rural and urban localities. Through this research we hope to identify the motivations and obstacles for community energy action through interviews with practitioners and advisory bodies. .
Financing and incentives
EU State Aid, February 2014
The European Commission has proposed new state aid rules that could have a very serious effect on the growth of community energy. Under its new proposals, Feed-in Tariffs, the main mechanism for supporting community renewables, would be capped at 5MW for wind projects and 2MW for other technologies. This runs counter to the UK’s recently launched Community Energy Strategy, which intends to increase the size of community projects able to access Feed-in Tariffs from 5MW to 10MW, for all technologies.
The Community Energy Coalition successfully campaigned for this increase to support larger community owned projects, but now this big win for the sector and its future is under threat. Read our response to the European Commission here.
Within the Community Energy Strategy, DECC formed a Shared Ownership Taskforce to create guidance for commercial developers on how to encourage the local community to buy a stake in their projects. The aim of the framework is to make offers to the community the norm by 2015. This is currently open to the public for consultation and you can find more details and response to that here. It will be reviewed by DECC in September 2014.
In June 2014, the Government published draft legislation within the Infrastructure Bill that would give the Secretary of State powers to introduce a requirement on commercial developers to offer ownership in new projects. We welcome this approach.
Other policy work
Since its formation, the Community Energy Coalition has provided responses to various consultations around community energy to UK and EU government, most recently the UK’s first Community Energy Strategy. Currently, the Coalition is working to submit a response to the Feed-in Tariff Consultation to help ensure community schemes have access to adequate financial support to be viable and successful.