A survey by Community Energy England found that 90% of respondents said their developing projects are at risk due to the steep cuts in support under the Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) review.

It said that represents a capital investment of £127 million that is now not likely to happen. A similar percentage of respondents said that their future ambitions are at risk from the FITs review, representing a further £242 million capital investment.

The report said that proposed new FITs rates for solar PV make new schemes unviable, particularly at the scale of system that most community energy organisations install (10-500kW), even for those organisations which group more than one project together to spread the overhead.

Removal of pre-registration and pre-accreditation has badly hit projects that take a long time to develop including all hydro and wind schemes, plus the more complex PV schemes or those that involve a range of partners or multiple sites such as social housing or groups of schools.

It said reversal of the previously supportive policy environment for renewable energy is already seriously affecting the ability of community energy to raise equity finance, either from individual members or the commercial or social providers:

‘Massive sense of disappointment’

Emma Bridge, chief executive of Community Energy England, said:

“Community energy is about far more than the generation of renewable energy. It reduces energy bills, provides energy efficiency advice, develops skills, generates revenue in the local economy, the list of social, economic and environmental benefits goes on.

She said there was currently a “massive sense of disappointment across the sector”.

“This is the second time that community energy has been badly hit by FITs policy changes: the sector had begun to gather momentum and regain confidence after the serious knock-back of the 2011 fast track review of FITs which also caused the abandonment of a large number of projects.”

> Read the report here