Unblocking finance for community energy projects

Roundtable makes its recommendations to DECC

30 July 2014

Better support for community energy groups to become investment ready; funding tied to ‘bankable’ professional advice; a Kitemark setting high standards for community energy financial promotions; interventions to address the availability of bank debt. These are the leading recommendations to DECC and the Cabinet Office from the Community Energy Finance Roundtable, set up and chaired by CSE’s Chief Executive, Simon Roberts.

DECC’s Community Energy Strategy, published in January 2014, tasked the Roundtable with exploring issues which are limiting access to, and/or availability of, finance for community renewable energy projects and to propose appropriate solutions by ‘Summer 2014’.

The Roundtable has now completed its task and Simon has sent the resulting report, complete with 13 recommendations for action, to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Brooks Newmark, the new Minister for Civil Society at the Cabinet Office.

“We’ve focused on what can be done practically in the near term," explained Simon. "Our recommendations represent a comprehensive programme for the next two to three years to address some of the challenges of financing community renewable energy projects."

The Roundtable members, who all gave their time in a voluntary capacity, included commercial financial institutions (like Abundance, Santander, Trillion Fund, Triodos Bank), social investment experts (including Robert Owen Community Bank and FSE Group), support ‘intermediaries’ (such as Pure Leapfrog and the Community Shares Unit), community energy developers (like Energy4All and Bath & West Community Energy), and staff from DECC and the Cabinet Office.

The Roundtable’s Terms of Reference are available here.

Image: Wedmore Community Power Co-operative

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