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2018 "worst" for community energy sector



Community energy companies faced by reductions in subsidy support and an uncertain government strategy are looking for other ways to continue to combat climate change and create local benefits for their community.


In its State of the Sector 2019 report, Community Energy England, highlights that between 2016 and 2018 there was a decrease of 79% in investment and an 84% reduction in new electricity generation capacity in the sector. This marked the toughest year yet for community energy, evidenced further by the 81% drop in the creation of new community energy companies.


Practitioners in the sector reported that the end of the feed-in-tariff and lack of government vision for the sector was to blame for these drops and called on the government to acknowledge the important role community energy plays.


Despite the setbacks on securing new investment, the 275 community energy organisations in the sector continued to deliver value for communities, including £978,000 in community benefit funding.


According to Community Energy England, 2019 will be another tough year, with many practitioners reporting a negative outlook.


At the same time, there is space for optimism as the transition to a smarter more dynamic and integrated energy system offers opportunities to organisations. Among the three quarters of community energy organisations have plans for 2019, many include non-generation projects ranging from energy efficiency and sustainable transport to peer-to-peer energy trading.


Referring to these developments, one practitioner told Community Energy England, “There appears to be a revival in the sector as groups innovate solutions to post subsidy generation, grid innovation, aggregation and demand management are starting to be taken up by some groups.”


Read the full report