The community energy sector faced a difficult year in 2017 according to a report released by Community Energy England on Saturday 23 June. The second annual review of community energy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland said only one new community energy organisation was established in 2017. The year also saw 30 fewer successful projects and 31% less generation capacity installed compared to 2016. The decline was attributed to a reduction in subsidy and tax incentives. The report said: “It is clear that the community energy sector has suffered in 2017 and dramatic changes are needed if the benefits of community energy are to continue to be felt in communities across the UK. Clearer government strategy and support are critical in overcoming the barriers seen in 2017.”

Meanwhile, research by Co-op Energy reported by Co-op News on Friday 22 June has found that more than three quarters (79%) of GB residents support the idea that the government should do more to help local communities generate their own energy. The survey found 59% said the government should offer tax relief to communities that invested in generating its own energy, with profits staying in the area, up slightly from 57% in 2016. CEO of Co-op Energy David Bird said extra support was needed because “community energy projects are by their nature small, localised schemes and are therefore harder to get off the ground than huge generation schemes backed by global business.”