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CO2Sense review of 2013

December 23rd, 2013 | 2:13 pm

2013 has been an interesting year for the renewable energy industry in the UK. An autumn full of debate around energy bills and rising costs of energy has provided a backdrop to unsettle even the most experienced investor. However when the detail is explored we are actually ending the year with many good news stories to mull over during the Christmas break.

Whilst ‘green’ subsidies and the impact on energy bills are being explored, the Government has provided formal comment that this does not include renewable energy.  Cuts to support for large scale onshore wind and solar from 2015 has been announced, but this is in line with industry expectations, so again a media storm disguised a positive news story of long term support for renewables at the levels needed.

2013 has been a bumper year for community energy with the sector starting to gain real traction. The number of projects is increasing rapidly, a 1300% growth in the past 10 years. A great indicator has been the level of uptake to community shareoffers and crowdfunding, with millions being raised as consumers realise the economic benefit of investing long term in renewable energy schemes. This trend looks set to continue into 2014 with the Government launching the eagerly awaited Community Energy Strategy, look out for our thoughts on this in the New Year.

The Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive have continued to be tweaked and amended over the past 12 months. Pre-accreditation under the FiT has proven to be a good step forward, providing investor confidence. The RHI is starting to take shape with new tariffs and tariff increases announced in December.  April 2014 will see the first tariff degression cuts to the FiT due to rising installation levels so it will be important to see how this impacts on the industry, in particular investors.

Much lobbying has been undertaken by the trade bodies, led by the REA and ADBA, to review the impact of FiT degression to the small scale AD sector. This work is to be commended and is looking like it will lead to amendments to reduce the impact to small scale AD in early 2014.  Small scale AD has been an emerging technology in 2013, with new entrants to the market providing financially viable schemes. Without the proposed amendments these schemes would not be viable and close the door to many developers, particularly farmers looking to diversify their activities.

CO2Sense provides flexible investment to renewable energy schemes. We support projects in the 500kw to 5MW scale and this continues to be an area which struggles for finance. The most affordable finance continues to only be available to larger deal structures. One of our aims for 2014 is to identify ways to structure investment into the smaller schemes without project crippling finance fees.  Key to achieving this will be political stability and commitment from Government to supporting renewable energy 2014, something we hope for every year!

CO2Sense are finishing 2013 with publishing some new case studies of our work, so check these out on our website. We will be starting 2014 by re-opening our investment offer, if you are developing renewable energy projects in the UK and looking for development or pre-operation finance do get in touch.

Finally we would like to wish all our contacts a Happy Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous 2014.

Please note our offices will be closed from 24th December reopening on Thursday 2nd January 2014.

Jemma Benson

Associate Director


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