Big banks “failing to lend cash for community energy”

Big banks are failing to lend cash to community energy businesses according to a thinktank. ResPublica claims the 66MW of community renewable electricity projects and more than 200MW being developed could […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Big banks are failing to lend cash to community energy businesses according to a thinktank.

ResPublica claims the 66MW of community renewable electricity projects and more than 200MW being developed could grow 89 times this size with the right infrastructure and support.

Its latest report argues power projects in local communities shouldn’t be seen as “parochial”.

It calls on commercial banks to open up lending to such small businesses and suggests the Treasury should do more to help crowdfunding for them.

Caroline Julian, Head of Research at ResPublica said: “Community energy groups suffer disproportionately from dwindling levels of lending to SMEs in the UK. As small and start-up ventures, they need additional support. It is vital that such groups and small businesses are exposed to a diverse range of investors and income streams.”

The call for more lending is backed by Co-operative Energy and its General Manager Ramsay Dunning said: “Crowdfunding could be the turbo-boost that renewable and community energy needs. Pioneers of community energy such as Denmark realised this some time ago and now enjoy days when renewables meet their entire electricity needs.”

He said the UK could mimic this as long as there is a “much fairer and far-sighted system of tax reliefs” which benefits a broad range of community enterprises.