A UK household is defined as in fuel poverty if it is below the poverty line, and is in the half of the population facing the highest energy costs. As of Feb 2014, there were 2.46 million households, or 6.99 million people, living in fuel poverty in England. Furthermore, climate change is having an increasing impact on world, driving heatwaves and other weather-related disasters, while communities across the UK are facing further funding cuts.
Enabling community groups to own and develop their own renewable energy assets delivers them regular long-term income which they can use to address the issues above. Our investment will benefit community organisations in the bottom 50% most deprived areas of the country. The outcomes will be more engaged communities with the capacity to effectively govern community assets and infrastructure.
We report on total income provided to community groups during the investment life. We ask community groups to regularly report at least one indicator showing how funds were used to benefit their community. Other outputs and outcomes (e.g. increased capability) are harder to measure for small, resource-constrained community groups.
Through this facility, Pure Leapfrog will provide finance enabling communities to own and benefit from portions of commercially developed renewables projects. The facility will also support wholly-owned community projects up to 5MW, and support community groups to purchase equity stakes in existing commercial projects.
This facility provides access to finance to community energy groups who currently struggle to access debt finance at a large scale. It brings in mainstream banks through the refinancing of the loans in the form of term debt, and involves individuals as community investors. It also strengthens one of our existing intermediaries, Pure Leapfrog, by growing their assets under management.
- Big Society Capital investment: £30 million