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Co-operative Energy calls on Government to introduce tax relief for community energy investments

Posted on 15 October 2013

To mark National Ethical Investment Week (13 – 19 October), ethical energy provider, Co-operative Energy is urging the Government to extend its social enterprise tax relief proposals to include charities, co-operatives and crowd funding platforms that champion community energy generation. Co-operative Energy strongly believes that with tax treatment similar to venture capital, these enterprises could unlock billions of pounds of private investment capital and radically improve the provision of fairly priced, low carbon energy in the UK. Co-operative Energy is at the forefront of sourcing power from community energy providers. Its ability to source from community providers is however hampered by the relatively small size of the sector. In countries such as Germany and Denmark individuals are actively encouraged to invest in community energy projects and as a result many hundreds of co-operatives have been developed with tens of billions of investment capital. Ramsay Dunning, general manager, Co-operative Energy said: “We’re pleased to see that tax relief for social enterprise is firmly on the Government’s agenda and welcome last month’s consultation. We’re urging them to ensure that co-operatives receive tax relief at a generic level; that the size requirement for qualification should be as flexible and generous as possible; that tax relief should not be limited to a maximum of £200,000 euros per investee and consideration is given to the rapidly growing crowd funding of debt. “We’re not seeking special advantage but rather bringing this type of investment in line with other tax favoured investments. This will ensure exponential growth in community energy in the UK, lower prices and challenge the domination of the Big Six energy providers. “Co-operative Energy wants to increase six-fold the amount of community and independent renewable energy in its supply in the next twelve months, and to then double it again twelve months thereafter. The vast majority of the UK welcomes renewable energy projects when communities are meaningfully engaged. If the Government’s forthcoming Community Energy Strategy and Social Enterprise Tax Relief proposals are up to scratch, and joined up, we could really see this sector take off, and the UK make some serious headway on its renewable energy targets. ” To date, Co-operative Energy sources supply from several community schemes including Westmill Wind Farm, Harlock Hill wind farm, Great Dunkilns wind farm, Whitby Esk Hydro-Energy and Neen Sollars Hydro.

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