To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to support communities that wish to invest in renewable community energy.
BEIS supports communities that wish to invest in renewable community energy. At the end of May, the Rural Community Energy Fund re-opened to support communities seeking to develop a wide range of low carbon activities. The £10m fund provides grants to communities for feasibility studies to scope out ideas, and where projects are viable, another grant to help develop the project to investment readiness.
The Rural Community Energy Fund will be delivered through the Local Energy Hubs which were created as part of the BEIS Local Energy Programme. There are five Hubs across England, including one in the North West which is managed by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The Hubs also provide wider commercial, technical and project management support to enable communities and Local Authorities to develop low carbon energy projects.
BEIS acknowledge the importance of a route to market for small-scale low-carbon generation for communities. On 10 June we launched the Smart Export Guarantee, which will ensure that small-scale low-carbon generators are paid for the power they export to the grid. The SEG provides space for innovative market solutions to come forward, and supports the uptake of flexible technologies such as batteries - reinforcing our smart energy agenda.
Eligible community projects will be able to benefit from the SEG, however we recognise that it may be more suitable for some projects than others. We are continuing to consider what measures we could take to support the efforts of communities that wish to invest in low-carbon community energy.