UK adds £10 million for community renewable energy schemes


The United Kingdom’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has announced the launch of a new fund giving community groups in England the opportunity to bid for grants of up to £20,000 or loans of up to £130,000 to help kick start renewable energy projects.

The Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) adds £10 million to the number of community owned renewable energy schemes in England. The DECC said the fund would allow community groups to create "power hubs" in their area.

"Installing solar panels on local buildings or factories or building an anaerobic digestion plant to create energy from local waste can save whole communities money,” the DECC said in statement, adding that in East Sussex, the south east’s first ever community energy scheme had installed solar panels on Harvey’s Brewery. While the brewery benefits from lower energy bills, the community benefits from money back under the feed-in tariff.

“I want to give more people the power to generate their own electricity and by supporting community energy projects we can — helping them drive down their energy bills at the same time,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, who announced the funding on a visit to the brewery on Thursday.

“That’s why we’ve pledged £10 million, so communities can play their part in generating renewable power at a local level. This is all about investing in renewable energy sources, creating jobs and changing the way renewable energy is developed in the UK.”

The community energy sector will also see its first major shake-up since the launch of the Community Energy Strategy in January this year. Community electricity projects stand to receive further support under the feed-in tariff scheme, according to the DECC.

New changes to the community energy support scheme include:

  • Registered charities will for the first time be entitled to the same benefits as other community groups
  • Two community projects (or one community project and one commercial project), each up to 5 MW, will now be able to share a single grid connection and receive separate feed-in tariffs
  • The FIT will now be guaranteed for an extra six months – giving communities more time to get their project up and running

Kathy Smyth, policy director of Community Energy England, said, "Without risking the integrity of the wider feed-in tariff scheme, this will stimulate community involvement in larger renewable schemes. It will be a great boost to projects using the split ownership model under the voluntary protocol for Shared Community Ownership, which Ed Davey launched earlier this month."

In addition to the changes, a Register of Community Benefits and Engagement for onshore wind projects has been launched to help other communities with proposed wind developments in their area.


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.