Last week, UK government published a longawaited call for evidence on the barriers to community energy projects. Regen welcomes this development, but is the consultation extensive enough? 

Having committed to a community energy consultation last year, this week the UK government delivered on this promise with the launch of its ‘Barriers to community energy projects’ call for evidence. While we welcome this consultation as an overdue acknowledgement of the key role that community energy can play in delivering net zero targets both local and national, the consultation itself is disappointingly lacking depth, with only nine, largely open-ended, questions.  

Regardless, this remains a strong opportunity to platform the community energy cause before the government and identify some of the key stumbling blocks that have been holding it back for too long.  

Some of these barriers are already well established, such as slow-moving connection queues at the distribution level, a lack of policy recognition and difficulty obtaining feasibility or development funding. For more on the current barriers to the development of community energy, see Community Energy England’s State of the Sector reports, the Power Allotments, Devon report, and Community Energy South’s work for the North East and Yorkshire Net Zero hub 

The questions within the consultation focus on: 

  • General barriers to the development of community energy schemes 
  • Regional differences in the barriers to community energy between urban and rural areas 
  • Suggested changes to address the barriers facing the sector 
  • Which government support mechanisms have been most helpful in implementing community energy projects 
  • How community energy positively contributes towards the delivery of the UK’s national net zero targets and the wider system benefits that it brings 
  • Qualitative and quantitative evidence to support answers to all of these questions. 

The deadline for responding to the call for evidence is 30 June. Regen, alongside Community Energy England and others, will look to support the sector to respond. For us, this will be in the form of: 

  • Supporting Community Energy England’s event on 10 May, to which you can sign up here 
  • An online event on 5 June which will bring together core players in the community energy sector including developers, local authorities and community energy organisations.  

If you have any thoughts about the call for evidence that you would like to share with us, please contact Robbie Evans or Prina Sumaria. 


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