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FiTs Changes - Survey Shows Shocking Impact on Community Energy Schemes

A survey of 80 community energy groups with some 11,000 members in total has been conducted on behalf of Community Energy England and has revealed some startling statistics. The background to the survey is a proposal to reduce public subsidies for renewable energy - the Department of Energy and Climate Change is currently consulting on this until Friday 23rd October.

Those 80 organisations have between them:

  • Delivered 30MW of renewable energy capacity in 175 separate schemes
  • Planned to deliver 143MW of capacity in 448 new schemes.

38 of those organisations have received £7.4m between them in Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments since FiTs were introduced in 2010. That public subsidy has levered over £50 million private investment including:

  • £28.6 million in community shares
  • £2 million social and private loans
  • £2.8 million commercial loans
  • £16 million other investment

It has also brought about a range of other public benefits including £5 million worth of voluntary professional skills and 88 person-years of voluntary time. 20 schemes provide annual energy savings totalling £172,500 to schools, parish halls, churches, sports centres and other community buildings, farms and homes.

The survey has also revealed the potential scale of impacts to the developing community energy sector from the Government's proposed changes to the FiT regime.

34 of the groups had ambitions to deliver a significantly larger programme of schemes in the next few years, worth an estimated £266 million. The majority of respondents have said that they are now putting their projects on hold, or cancelling them, as a result of the recent government policy announcements.

  • 90% of respondents said their developing projects are completely (67%) or partially (23%) at risk due to the FiTs review
  • This represents a capital investment of £127 million that is now not likely to happen
  • 91% stated that their future ambitions are at risk from the FiTs review
  • This is a further £242 million capital investment that will not now happen
  • 98% thought their community activities would now be wholly (80%) or partially (18%) at risk as well.

Read the summary report and full report here.

An online 'Keep FiTs' campaign has also been started up by the climate change chairity 10:10 and we encourage you to support this.