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Member newsletter 5th February 2016

As part of our drive to provide a better service for our members we will be sending more regular, but shorter newsletters. Please get in touch if there is something specific that you would like us to include in future newsletters or if you have updates that you would like to share with the rest of sector.
 

In this issue we provide an update on the government's response to our pre-action letter about the removal of tax relief, advertise vacancies here at CEE and also at DECC, give you all a gentle nudge to complete our survey on shaping the sector and outline some consultations which may be of interest.
 

Emma Bridge

Chief Executive

Community Energy England
 

Update on pre-action letter to Treasury

The Government Legal Department has responded to our pre-action letter about the removal of tax relief from community energy enterprises. HM Treasury concedes that it gave only five weeks’ notice of the change, and not the six months which it had promised in the Budget. Government lawyers contend that an earlier ministerial statement that it was 'monitoring' the schemes had in effect put community energy enterprises on notice that the policy might be changed without the agreed grace period.

We reject this argument and believe that a court would too. It has been decided, however, not to devote scarce resources to pursuing the matter to judicial review; but instead to help the Treasury become better informed about the benefits of bone fide community energy schemes so that it can reconsider its approach to Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) when this is expanded in 2016.

You can find further details, including our press release and a blog on the process here.

The future of hydro

As many of you will be aware, the hydro sector has been hit particularly hard by the changes to the Feed-In Tariff scheme. We, along with Community Energy Wales, Community Energy Scotland, the British Hydro Association, the Micro Hydro Association and a number of hydro groups, wrote to the House of Lords to express our concern over the impact that these changes will have. We have yet to find a workable business model for community or large-scale hydro at the proposed rates. The community hydro sector is now considering its next steps. We will keep you updated with any progress.

Job vacancies

CEE has two posts that we are recruiting to, thanks to funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation:
  • An Administrative Officer - based in Sheffield, this post will be the administrative hub of CEE, facilitating the professional functioning of the Chief Executive and the Board in the service of CEE’s membership. Salary £19k-£24k. Deadline 12th February
  • A Membership & Communications Officer - also based in Sheffield, this post will be responsible for CEE's member support, day-to-day communication activities and programme of events. Salary £25k-£30k. Deadline 26th February
Full job details are available at: http://communityenergyengland.org/energy/job-vacancies/
Please circulate this opportunity to all of your networks.
 
DECC is also recruiting. They are looking for a Local Partnerships Manager with specific responsibility to build working partnerships with local authorities, communities and local enterprise partnerships. Deadline 12th February. Full details at: https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1481123%20

Don't forget to share your thoughts on the future of the sector

We are gathering opinions about the outlook for the community energy sector, the role of local and regional community energy networks and the extent of peer-to-peer learning among community energy groups.
You can find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZMBRDZ2. The closing date for responses is Friday 12 February (6pm).

The survey should take 20-30 minutes to complete and will help to inform CEE’s activities and the further development of the Community Energy Hub in the coming year. As ever, we appreciate your time and insight in completing this survey; it really does help to shape our work on behalf of the sector. It is a requirement from DECC (who has funded the development of the Hub) for us to gather views on how the Hub could be further developed to support learning across the sector.

Consultations and calls for evidence

EU consultation on a 2nd Renewable Energy Directive - this survey consults stakeholders and citizens about the new renewable energy directive for 2020-2030. Deadline 10th February
Ofgem Simplification Plan 2016-17 – looking at how to remove burdensome regulatory barriers. Deadline 11th February.
Environment Audit Committee – sustainability and HM Treasury inquiry – call for written evidence on the role of HMT in relation to sustainable development, environmental protection and green growth. Deadline 18th February.
FCA call for input: Regulatory barriers to social investments – call for information from social enterprises, financial intermediaries and consumers. Deadline 14th March.
 
CEE will be responding to these. If you are interested in more information or would like to input, please contact policy@communityenergyengland.org

Membership

Welcome to our newest member:
  • Hertford Energy Now – a not-for-profit that brought the first community owned power generating scheme to East Herts

Member news

10:10 - Community buildings going solar in Greater Manchester

10:10 launched a new project last week in Great Manchester - Community Energy GM. 18 community organisations are working together to fundraise for their own solar roofs. It will be a combination of donations plus a share offer later in the year. In communities severely affected by fuel poverty (and the recent flooding) they'll be using crowdfunding to start conversations about energy and climate change. To find out more watch this short video or visit www.cegm.org.uk

Events

Member events

CARES conference 2016, 15-16 March, Stirling
Join Local Energy Scotland at their annual conference to explore how community energy could be a key player in the renewable energy industry through innovative financing, cutting-edge technologies and new partnerships. The agenda has been designed to allow delegates to attend one or both days.
 
Smart Energy Market Place, 17 March, Exeter
RegenSW's exhibition and conference will explore and develop new business opportunities with the key players in the emerging smart, decentralised energy system.
 

Other events

Zero Carbon Yorkshire Launch, 27 February, Leeds
This Launch will include a day of open space conversation to help to create a vision for a better, cleaner, greener Yorkshire that will be free of fossil fuels in the shortest possible time.
 
Learn how to build a DIY wind turbine in a weekend, 16-17 April in London or 23-24 April in Bristol
You will work as part of a team with experienced tutors to build a 1.8m diameter turbine gaining hands-on experience in welding, wood-carving and working with magnets and resin. CEE members can claim a £25 discount
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