A dash for clean community energy

From 30 November, government cuts will stop two tax breaks that have encouraged people to invest in small and growing businesses. In the run up to the deadline, 28 community...

From 30 November, government cuts will stop two tax breaks that have encouraged people to invest in small and growing businesses. In the run up to the deadline, 28 community energy organisations have been brought together in a Clean Energy Dash to help fund as many as possible, before they are derailed.

Under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief and Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR), investors can receive 30% tax relief of the cost of the shares (dependent on terms), which made community energy share offers more attractive to large-scale investors. Although new projects will be set up in the future, these will be smaller and less ambitious than those seen previously.

“The tax relief cuts, combined with other policy changes, mean that this is likely to be the last set of large scale community energy projects we see for a while,” says 10:10, the UK climate change charity which is running the Clean Energy Dash campaign and its website, www.energydash.org.

Four of the 28 projects have reached their funding targets recently, but locally owned wind, sun and water power initiatives still looking for investment include the Bristol Energy Co-op, the Edinburgh Solar Co-op and Awel wind co-operative in South Wales.

The minimum amount you can invest in individual projects ranges from £50 to £500, with each project handling its own investment, but 10:10 has also set up a donation system where you can donate from just £5.

All donations to a project will be taken and processed by 10:10, then combined with other donations – when there is enough to meet a project’s minimum investment threshold, 10:10 will invest it in the project as one lump sum. The investment will be in 10:10’s name, and any returns received will help fund their work supporting community energy in the UK.

“The British community energy movement has grown at an inspiring rate over the last few years,” says Millie Darling, community energy campaigns manager at 10:10. “There are now 100s of active community energy groups across the country, and there’s a real appetite to build more too. It is so frustrating to see the government introducing policies which halt this momentum and put a cap on people’s ambition. But together, we can help them hit their targets in time.”

For more information, visit www.energydash.org.

  • As with all investments, your capital is at risk when you invest in community energy. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get your money back, so never invest more than you can afford to lose and always consult a professional if you’re at all unsure.
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