On Friday 14 February 2014, an EU Consultation on State Aid Rules for Energy closes. The proposed legislation will further disadvantage small renewable generation projects being driven forward by non-specialists, such as community groups and local stakeholders. Below is the response to the consultation I wrote on behalf of Scene.
Scene Consulting Response to EU on Energy State Aid
Thursday, 13 February 2014
My organisation, Scene Consulting, specialises in facilitating engagement with renewable energy. Our clients include community groups, landowners and small- and medium-scale energy developers. We work on projects across the globe, including many in the European Union. Community- and local- renewable generation represents a fledgling but rapidly growing sector in the EU. In the UK, for example, we estimate that community renewables is growing at roughly 30% per year, three times as fast as the renewables sector at large.
The draft guidelines on state aid for environment and energy contain elements that could seriously harm small- and medium- sized energy projects that are being driven forward by non-specialists, such as community projects. This would be unfortunate, because the community renewables sector enjoys a set of very particular positive externalities that are not found in, for instance, the commercial or industrial sectors:
(1) A large proportion of local- and community renewable energy revenue is reinvested into the renewables sector, thereby benefitting the sector as a whole – and accelerating climate change mediation efforts in the process.
(2) Local- and community energy has a vital role to play in inculcating a positive, pro-renewables culture. Without local- and community energy, attitudes towards the renewables sector will worsen, hampering both commercial and policy- efforts aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy in the generation mix.
Together with a large and diverse number of accredited research partners, my organisation has spent considerable time quantifying these two externalities through peer-reviewed and other publications, all of which are available on our website.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly, should you have any questions.
Dr. Jelte Harnmeijer
Director, Scene Consulting Ltd.