Since the government abandoned its community energy strategy in 2015, community projects have seen a significant decline in England, with a drop-off in new project start-ups from 33 in 2015 to only one in 2017. So, while community energy in the EU and even in Scotland and Wales enjoys a favourable policy environment, groups in England face an uncertain future. Last month, community energy groups across Europe celebrated a landmark development in regulation. The EU’s renewable energy directive and the internal market for electricity came into force, introducing clear mandates for member states to support ‘renewable energy communities’. They set out a bold vision with citizens at the core, “where citizens take ownership of the energy transition, benefit from new technologies to reduce their bills, participate actively in the market, and where vulnerable consumers are protected.” It is unclear if and how the UK will transpose these directives into domestic law. The UK’s National Energy and Climate plan (NECP), published in January, does not recognise community energy nor the ways in which the plan aims to support community groups in accordance with the EU directives. In response, leading voices in the community energy sector launched a manifesto last week, calling on the government to recognise the benefits of local ownership and to align with these EU objectives. The signatories want to see three broad changes: a framework that supports local energy ownership, a clear route to market for local projects to develop suitable business models and a level playing field for community groups to participate in new energy markets.
Business Green 7th March 2019 read more »
A new community-owned renewable energy asset manager has been launched to serve communities and commercial clients across the UK, acquiring Mongoose Energy’s asset management business in the process. Created by seven community-owned energy companies to support further growth in the community energy market, Bright Renewables has a focus on distributing profits to the community owners to be invested into local communities, rather than private investors. The seven community-owned energy companies that created Bright Renewables are Bath & West Community Energy, Bristol Energy Cooperative, Chelwood Community Energy, Kent Community Energy, Low Carbon Gordano, Orchard Community Energy and Wight Community Energy.
Solar Power Portal 5th March 2019 read more »