I write with an update on what’s going on with Brighton Energy Coop after the government’s unexpected Feed in Tariff review last week.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the new FIT tariffs make it very difficult to proceed with a 120kWp of solar (the current amount we have under contract). So we are waiting for the government’s decision on a special tariff for community schemes – due sometime in the New Year. This means we have postponed our share launch until we get some clarity from policy makers.
This is frustrating, especially so in light of recent reports of increasing climate change. We need renewable energy now more than ever, and when our politicians cut one of the few growth areas in the economy (let alone a green growth area), it’s hard for individuals to believe the coalition has a handle on this most pressing of issues.
So I’d encourage you to add your voice to the DECC consultation on a community tariff here. In terms of Brighton Energy Coop, there are two relevant aspects:
1. The tariff level for community schemes. Brighton Energy Coop is calling for 25p per kWp FIT level for community schemes with systems below 50kW. The calculations are complex, but it’s important to bear in mind that we have to depreciate our asset (the panels), as well as pay back start up costs (these are in line with most other energy coops). 25P would also allow us to form a community fund, dedicated to supporting community initiatives to reduce CO2 emmissions in B&H.
2. The definition of community schemes. This is easy: a community scheme is either a Community Benefit Society (like Brighton Energy Coop), or an Industrial and Provident Society (like other energy coops such as Baywind). All UK energy coops use one of these legal structures. These structures already form the basis of exemptions for the benefit of the community – IPSs and CBSs are, for example, exempted from the Financial Services Authority’s regulations surrounding issuing prospectuses. The legislation specifically uses the organisational structure to define these exemptions.
Finally, please note that due to this review we’ve also had to postpone our share launch events over the coming few weeks. I’m sorry to say, therefore, that we have had to pull our public events, including Caroline and Jeremy won’t be speaking (see dates below). They have both, however, maintain their support and are looking forward to coming back in the New Year.
We continue to work on how we can provide commuinty energy for B&H within the turbulent environment of UK renewables; I’ll continue to update you as things progress.
BEC events – CANCELLED
17 November – Jeremy Leggett
Brighthelm Centre, 7 – 9.30
8 November – Carloline Lucas
7 – 9.30
23 November – Gasland (film screening)
SPRU, Freeman Centre, University of Sussex