Community Energy England spell out the crisis facing Community Renewable Energy Projects in future and details of Decc’s response.
Less than a week after the historic climate agreement was agreed in Paris, DECC has today published its response to the Feed-in Tariff consultation, the content of which highlights again the UK government’s lack of commitment to the green economy. The results of the Feed in Tariff consultation provide little support or encouragement for communities attempting to install rooftop solar on community buildings including schools and community scale hydro schemes.
The re-introduction of pre-accreditation for rooftop solar schemes over 50kW is welcome but overall we are very disappointed by the outcome of this consultation. Initial feedback from our members indicates that at the rates proposed for most schemes over 10kW are currently not viable for community schemes which are accustomed to offering additional benefits such as reduced price electricity to schools and creating local funds for alleviation of fuel poverty. We are also very concerned that operation of the caps will have a disproportionate impact on the community solar sector which has very limited resources to develop projects compared to the commercial solar sector.
Our press release on DECC’s response which includes comments from Sharenergy and the Low Carbon Hub is available here. Please share with your contacts and local MPs.
A summary of DECC’s response is available below.
Community Energy England will be working hard with the support of its members to develop business models to enable to the community energy sector to adapt and grow. In order to do this more effectively we will be recruiting additional staff in the new year (more details to follow). I would also like to welcome Alex Germanis, from Pure Leapfrog, as a new board member and Chris Rowland, from Community Energy South, as a board advisor. At our AGM, Alex and Chris put themselves forward as Directors and only very narrowly missed out being voted in. The board agreed that due to their wealth of knowledge and expertise they would be very valuable additions to CEE and so were asked to become involved in board activities.
Finally, I would like to thank Gemma Cater, who has been interning with us over the last 3 months and whose last day it is tomorrow. Gemma has been a huge help in leading on our social media and gathering intelligence from our members and a range of MPs.
Community Energy England
Summary of DECC’s FiT consultation response
DECC has released its response to the consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariff.
Key decisions include:
· The budget for FITs to April 2019 is up to £100m of new spend from January 2016
· There is no separate tariff for community energy but this is to be kept under review
· New tariffs will come into force on 8 February 2016 (table of new tariffs below)
· Under new tariffs, Government is targeting a 4.8% rate of return for solar, 5.9% for wind, and 9.2% for hydro
· The export tariff has been maintained at 4.85p/kWh
· DECC has sustained the link with Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation link for export and generation tariffs (rather than Consumer Price Index as proposed)
· A quarterly deployment cap system will be introduced, with a queuing system for applicants who miss out on a quarterly cap. Some of the deployment caps are very low i.e. only an estimated 70 rooftops over 50kW per quarter will be allowed in 2016
· Only one degression threshold will be implemented at the level of each quarterly cap. The new rate will be a flat 10% if the cap is hit
· The first cap period will run from 8 February to 31 March 2016
· Pre-accreditation will be re-introduced for solar and wind over 50kW and all AD and hydro projects with an additional 6 months for community energy projects from 8 February
· Pre-registration will not be re-introduced at this stage. It may be re-introduced if an implementable system can be devised which delivers cost control and reduces gaming. DECC will issue an update early next year
· FiT will be removed on extensions for all installations commissioned on or after 15 January
Table of new tariffs:
A pause to the FiTs scheme will be implemented from 15 January 2016 to 8 February 2016 when the new tariff and deployment caps will be put in place. During the pause, no new installations will be accredited for FITs except for those with pre-accreditation granted before 1 October 2015 who are applying for accreditation within the period of validity of the pre accreditation. Installations which commission and apply for FITs during the pause will be in the queue when the new deployment caps and tariffs come into force on 8 February 2016.
DECC will launch a separate consultation in early 2016 to consider tariffs and degression for anaerobic digestion (AD) and micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) technologies. DECC also intends to revisit the topic of sustainability criteria for AD plant, setting out more detailed proposals than those outlined in this consultation.
Consultation on the levels of banded support for new solar PV under the Renewables Obligation
Also published today, this consultation sets out the Government’s proposals for reduced support under the Renewables Obligation for solar PV up to 5MW, to apply from 1 June 2016. The proposals will affect solar PV generating stations with an accreditation date from 23 July 2015 onwards (and additional capacity added to existing accredited stations that does not take it above 5MW in total installed capacity), unless they are eligible for the specified grandfathering exception, the significant financial commitment grace period or the banding reduction exception.
The consultation also sets out the proposed eligibility criteria for the banding reduction exception that was announced in the December 2015 Government response to the consultation on changes to financial support for solar PV. This exception will apply to projects which can demonstrate that a significant financial commitment had been made on or before 22 July 2015. It will give those projects protection against the reduction in support proposed under the banding review.
Deadline for comments to DECC is 27 January. Full details at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-level-of-banded-support-for-new-solar-pv-under-the-renewables-obligation
Update on pre-action letter to Treasury
In our last newsletter we informed members that CEE had served on HM Treasury a ‘Letter before Action’ in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review challenging the implementation of proposed changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) for community energy enterprises.
We have received a response from the government lawyers, but they omitted to include the relevant evidence. This is due before the end of the week, so we will provide an update after that.
Community share offers
An amazing £12.8m was raised in November for community energy schemes across the country in the run up to the deadline for EIS. This really demonstrates the public support that there is for community energy. I know a lot of work and very long hours went into this success so congratulations to all those involved.
Welcome to our newest member:
· Joju solar – one of the longest-standing MCS-accredited solar installers in the country. They have carried out hundreds of solar installations for home owners, businesses, public authorities and community organisations.
EBR action: write to National Infrastructure Commission
The Chancellor announced at the Conservative Party Conference the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), led by Lord Adonis. The aim of the Commission is to make independent judgements about the future infrastructure needs of the UK and advise the Government accordingly. The creation of this Commission is an important opportunity for us to finally get home energy efficiency recognised as a huge infrastructure opportunity for the UK.
The NIC is conducting a consultation to investigate three initial infrastructure areas, transport in the north of England, transport in London and balancing electricity supply and demand. Home energy efficiency does not fit neatly into the consultation questions although it is important for this consultation to recognise that if most, or even a sizeable proportion of our future heat is delivered by electricity (as expected), then this could have enormous implications for electricity supply. To mitigate this risk means making all UK homes energy efficient.
The Energy Bill Revolution is encouraging as many people as possible to write to the NIC before their consultation closes on 8th January, calling for home energy efficiency to be made an infrastructure priority and asking them to conduct a full consultation as soon as possible to investigate this huge infrastructure opportunity.
More details about the Energy Bill Revolution at: http://www.energybillrevolution.org/
National Infrastructure Commission consultation at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/infrastructure-commission-invites-submissions-on-critical-infrastructure-challenges
Ofgem: Update to Sustainable Development Indicators
Ofgem’s Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) assess the sustainability of the gas and electricity markets in Great Britain, and are structured along three core themes: 1) environmental impact; 2) social outcomes, bills and quality of service; and 3) reliability and safety.
The updated indicators include:
· Electricity intensity
· Power station emissions: nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide
· Proportion of total domestic customer accounts in debt by fuel type
· Energy spend as a percentage of total household expenditure
· Large suppliers: Complaints received per 100,000 customer accounts as a weighted average.
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What do you think, tell your local MP what you would like to see happen, we can all make a difference !