A word from the REA’s Chief Executive
Last year was a good one for community energy. DECC published its Community Energy Strategy in January and over the course of the year, we participated (alongside other trade associations, industry players and community groups) in the Shared Ownership Taskforce. It produced its report in November.
2014 also saw Community Energy England (of which REA is a member) become established. This group will play an important role in linking interested communities with commercial developers for the development of shared ownership schemes and monitoring the uptake of shared ownership.
Of course, shared ownership of renewables schemes is only part of the agenda. I am keen to get across that “community renewables” isn’t simply about wind or solar power projects – there are many ways in which communities can engage and across a wide spectrum of renewable technologies across power, heat and transport.
UPDATE - January 2015
Since publication of the Shared Ownership Taskforce report, a new website has been set up to provide guidance to both communities and developers on how to follow its recommendations - SCO – RES. As well as guidance, this website takes registrations from both communities and commercial project developers and aims to play a matchmaking role. As of January there were some 45 entries.
There will also be an added impetus for developing the “split asset projects” described in the Taskforce report following changes which will be made to the Feed In Tariff. DECC consulted on “Support for community energy projects under the Feed-in Tariffs Scheme” in May 2014, and published its response in November. It decided to allow Ofgem to view two projects (one of which must be community-owned) to share a grid connection and qualify for the FIT as two separate projects. See pages 24 – 26 for more detail. This should be implemented in April 2015
Solar project developers may be able to revise >5MW projects that had been planning to claim ROCs as feed-in tariff projects instead, and simultaneously involve the community.
The REA would like to see similar provisions made under the RO, but paragraph 5.12 of the document suggests DECC is reluctant to implement this. However, this does need to be changed if the objectives of shared ownership and the Community Energy Strategy are to be realised.
The Renewables Marketplace
The Renewables Marketplace is an online platform which helps community groups (as well as public and private sector organisations) make business connections with the renewables industry, free of charge.
The Marketplace is already live and fully functional, albeit in ‘beta mode’. We will expand and improve the service over time if there is demand for it.
Community energy and engagement case studies
If you have a case study you would like listing above, please email it to Rebecca Cooke.
Academic research on community energy and engagement
If you have some research you would like us to list, please email it to Rebecca Cooke.
REA Community Renewables resources
REA Community Renewables A-Z
An introduction to renewable energy technologies and the opportunities for community engagement
Peak District National Park Authority & East Midlands Development Agency: Community Biogas Toolkit
This document is a guide for communities, farmers and individuals who are considering whether anaerobic digesters might have something to offer them. REA Head of Biogas David Collins was a contributor to this project, which was completed in 2010.
Funding Sources & Useful links
A regulated investment company that links communities and individuals with renewable energy projects they can invest in.
A not-for-profit company specialising in ethical investment in commercial and community-owned, UK-based renewable energy schemes. CO2Sense specialises in early stage risk capital for renewable energy projects.
Communities for Renewables CIC
A not-for-profit company working to enable business, local authorities, community groups, and other organisations to deliver renewable energy and energy efficiency
Community Energy Action Programme
A group of community energy enterprises and experts working to accelerate the development of community energy, increasing its contribution alongside the commercial sector.
Community Energy Coalition
A group of trusted and influential civic society organisations, working together to make community energy-at-scale a reality in the UK by 2020.
The Community Energy Practitioners Forum
A network that brings together a number of charities, empowering and supporting action by communities on sustainable energy across the UK.
Community Energy Scotland
A registered charity that provides practical help for communities on green energy development and energy conservation.
Community Generation Fund
A national fund created to provide a catalyst for the widespread development of community-owned renewable energy infrastructure.
An energy supplier wholly owned by The Midcounties Co-operative, a consumer co-operative society entirely owned by its members.
Click here to watch YouTube videos of the 2013 Co-operative Energy Community Energy Conference
DECC Community Energy portal
A guide aimed at local groups who may be interested in setting up a community energy project.
This is a British Gas tariff which is lined to a fund into which BG donates £10 a year for every customer. The fund aims to help community renewable energy projects already in progress – and inspire others to start. It hosts a directory of over 1,000 community energy groups.
Energy4All has set up a number of co-operatives which together own it. It works with community groups and landowners, to develop renewable energy projects that are wholly or partially owned by a community co-operative.
A membership association of existing and aspiring social entrepreneurs, constituted as a Society for the Benefit of the Community. It is also a registered co-operative.
Low Carbon Communities Network
A network which aims to encourage the adoption of low carbon and zero carbon technologies and lifestyles at a community level and to enable groups engaged in this to be as effective and efficient as possible.
A provider of social investment and professional support to community energy projects in the UK. It provides low cost finance to UK projects, drawing on a credit facility from Big Society Capital.
A database of community renewable energy projects.
Scottish Communities Climate Action Network
A network of community groups and organisations. Its aim is to empower and enable communities to create a low carbon future and promote local resilience and well-being.
A not-for-profit organisation which helps communities find, build and own renewable energy generation throughout the UK.
A charitable organisation whose role is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.
A portal to investments in renewable energy projects, whether they are crowdfunding, bonds or shares in a local co-operative or PLC.
WRAP Rural Community Energy Fund
The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.
If you would like to be listed above, email firstname.lastname@example.org