Delegates at a recent IPPR Community Energy event heard that England’s urban poor were losing out on community energy schemes that were set up to help them.
According to Taylor Heyman at Power Technology:
“The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) and Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) were set up in November 2014. Funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the funds are intended to help communities in England set up renewable energy generation projects in their areas.”
Although £10 million was made available to support community energy projects in the most deprived urban areas, little of this has filtered down to people in the bottom third (about 15 million people) of the income scale.
The key reason for the mismatch between the funds’ intended beneficiaries and the actual schemes put into practice stems from government’s misunderstanding of the needs of the urban poor. While the funds were set up to promote renewable energy, the poorest sections of society benefit far more from energy efficiency measures that allow them to do more with what energy that they can afford.