Good news! Co-operatives and our partners in the field of renewable energy can celebrate a very welcome decision by the Government to introduce a carve-out for community energy generators.
We have helped 40 community energy generation co-operatives in recent years to raise £13.5 million from around 8,000 members through the Community Shares Unit.
In the March Budget though, the Treasury introduced new limits which would have ended use of the flexible Enterprise Investment Scheme in support of these. Earlier this month, Co-operatives UK, with the backing of around 70 community energy schemes, submitted a call for Government to change its mind and guarantee a carve-out for community energy.
Baywind Energy Co-operative, the UK pioneer, is currently looking to repower their Harlock Hill site, for example, with the intention that the venture will support a substantial community benefit fund. This would have been called into question without a carve-out, as could have been been a current 4MW community solar project in Cornwall, and a planned 10MW community wind project in Scotland.
The case for renewable energy is compelling and the case for community ownership as a positive way through planning strife is proven. All credit to the Government for listening to the sector on this vital change.