Photo credit: Westmill Solar
Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report highlighting the potentially catastrophic results if global warming is not limited to 1.5°C. In a strongly worded message it warned that failure to meet this target could lead to food shortages, a rise in extreme weather events such as droughts and storms and a mass die-off of coral reefs.
In order to limit temperature rises the report says that cutting emissions by 45% by 2030 and getting almost all of our electricity from renewables by the middle of the century is essential.
The worrying thing is that this is against a background of declining investment into renewable energy. In the last few months there have been several high-profile reports including one from the Environmental Audit Committee highlighting the fact that in the UK green investment is at the lowest for 10 years and in 2017 renewable energy investment fell by 56%.
The Community Energy sector also recently launched its 2018 State of the Sector report which showed the extent to which the sector has been impacted by the removal of both tax reliefs and feed in tariffs in recent years. In 2017 there was only one new project, 30 fewer successful projects and 31% less generation capacity installed or acquired.
In contrast, the UK government in June also issued a public document outlining how they intended to grow a culture of social impact investing in the UK.
Given community energy is one of the most developed social impact investment sectors both in terms of products and an investor appeal, and with the pressing need to further decarbonise the UK’s energy sector in light of the IPCC report there is a strong case for changes in government policy to de-risk these investments further, whilst also growing social impact investing and helping to reduce carbon emissions to limit global temperature rises.