Record breaking community share offers raise over 12.8 million
It has been an extremely successful month for various community energy organisations across the UK, including 2 in Wales. Awel Aman Tawe have raised an incredible amount of over 721,000 and Carmarthenshire Energy Limitedwho have done exceptionally, by raising just under 350,000 in share offers.
This money has been raised through a community share offer, where anyone who invests becomes a member of the co-operative. The money is invested by ordinary people many of which live close to where the scheme is developed. No matter how much is invested each member has equal voting rights and because the interest is paid to members it ensures that the interest paid back to members is kept within the local economy and Wales as much as possible.
Awel Aman Tawe and Carmarthenshire Energy will use their profits to help tackle fuel poverty and develop further renewable energy projects in the local communities they serve. Awel is a Community Benefit Society and its project will own and run two 2.35MW Enercon wind turbines on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, 20 miles north of Swansea. These turbines will produce clean, low carbon energy and are forecast to generate an estimated 12,558 MWh of clean energy a year, enough to supply over 2,500 homes.
Planning permission is in place, a grid connection offer secured and an application for Feed-in Tariff pre-accreditation submitted. Construction is planned to start in March 2016 and with the scheme expected to be completed by December 2016. The team behind the Awel Aman Tawe Share Offer have already successfully delivered Egni Solar Co-op which has installed 119kW of solar on five local community buildings.
Funds from the Carmarthenshire Energy share offer are being used for the Salem Turbine. The turbine received full planning permission last year and has now been ordered from the manufacturer. This will be energised and operational in just a few short months, with the planned start date set for June 2016.
In light of this fantastic news, it is important to highlight the reasons why these community energy organisations were pushed to raise these funds so quickly. This being that the government have removed the option of tax relief for those investing in Community Energy projects. This has come as a huge blow, but many have looked on it as a final opportunity to raise as much as possible – to huge success.
In total, a record £12.8m was raised for 28 community energy schemes, in the five weeks in the run up to the 30 November, after the UK government announced it was removing certain tax breaks for the sector after this date.
The community energy sector is not taking this lying down and Community Energy England, working with Community Energy Wales and Community Energy Scotland have served on HM Treasury a ‘Letter before Action in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review’ about the proposed changes to Enterprise Investment Scheme and Social Investment Tax Relief for community energy enterprises.
Robert Proctor Business Development Manager of CEW, said
“There have been many announcements from the UK Government in recent months that have had severe impacts on community energy. However, this one came as a bolt out of the blue particularly as previous government statements had suggested that it may go but would be replaced and a satisfactory notice period would be provided. It is a great credit to the Community Energy sector across the UK that they have been able to collectively raise nearly £13 million of investments for Community Energy projects in less than a month, with over £1 million going to 2 Welsh projects. However, there are many who were not able to launch their offers in time who will be affected by these changes. We hope the treasury reconsiders it’s position”
The Awel Aman Towe share offer will remain open until the 31st January. You can subscribe to this Share Offer for as little as £50. You will receive a projected 7% return per year. Find out more here: http://awel.coop/
The Carmarthenshire Energy share offer is now closed, but there will be further opportunities in 2016. Find out more here: http://www.carmarthenshireenergy.org/share-offer.html