Response to Consultation on support for Community Energy
Publication of Government Response to Consultation on support for Community Energy Under FITS
The DECC today published the Government Response to the consultation on support for community energy projects under the Feed in Tariff (FITs) scheme. A copy of the document can be viewed on the DECC website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/support-for-community-energy-projects-under-the-feed-in-tariffs-scheme
Summary of key decisions
Government has decided to introduce the following measures to the existing FITs scheme to enhance support for community projects up to 5MW :
· Extend the definition of “community organisation” to include registered charities and the wholly owned subsidiaries of registered charities. This will make it easier for a wider range of community groups to access the community provisions in the FITs scheme:
· Introduce an additional exemption MPAN criterion within the determination of ‘site’ in the FIT scheme to allow two community projects (or one community project and one commercial one),each up to 5MW, to share a single grid connection and receive separate FITs tariffs. This will help reduce upfront costs and complexity and encourage communities to either wholly or partly own assets in line with our wider policies on shared ownership gage ;
· Extend the preliminary accreditation validity periods for community projects by six months for all technologies. This will increase the certainty on offer to community energy developers and investors with regard to the available tariff and will give developers more time to engage local communities and to focus on raising the right type of finance locally
Subject to Parliamentary approval the above measures will come into legal effect from 1 April 2015.
In addition Government will:
- Provide greater clarity on the types of activities that can be supported by publicly funded grants without affecting eligibility for FITs payments under current rules(by the end of 2014);
- Provide guidance on the treatment of different community ownership models under the FITs scheme, and how to come to an agreement with a commercial developer over the sharing of tariff payments (before April 2015);
After careful consideration, Government has decided not to implement the proposal to increase the maximum capacity ceiling for community projects under the FITs scheme from 5MW to 10MW, as it did not receive sufficient robust economic and deployment evidence from the consultation to support a state aid case.
Government has also decided not to implement the proposal to allow FITs to be combined with grants at present, as the consultation responses did not provide robust evidence that costs for community projects are higher than those already covered by the FIT. It will, however, reassess additional costs in the 2015 review of the FITs scheme and will assist the community sector to build the necessary evidence base.