Financing Community Energy: lessons learned and innovations for the future
This project is led by Tyndall Manchester, working with the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester, and with the University of Strathclyde and Imperial College London. It aims to provide the first systematic quantitative and qualitative analysis of the role of finance in the evolution of the UK community energy sector; and to develop recommendations for innovative policies, business models and finance mechanisms that will support future growth of the sector. In light of this, the academic researchers will be working closely with stakeholder organisations across the UK from the outset.
The project's overall aim is to assess the past role of finance in the evolution of the community energy sector in the UK, and the innovations that may enable the sector to grow in the future. It will:
- review existing datasets and literature on community energy in the UK and internationally, to map the co-evolution of government policy, finance, and community energy business models, and to assess the availability of data on finance and business models for the UK sector;
- conduct an extensive telephone survey of the sector to fill the identified data gaps, to develop a UK wide database on community energy finance and business models;
- develop an econometric analysis of the determinants of the financial performance of community energy projects, and also produce a taxonomy of financing mechanisms and business models in the sector using cluster analysis;
- undertake in-depth community energy case studies to explore further the relationship between different business models and finance mechanisms;
- identify the types and combinations of innovations in business models and financial mechanisms that could enable community energy to flourish in the future;
- work with stakeholders to co-develop and disseminate policy and business strategy recommendations to support growth of the sector.
Dr Carly McLachlan is leading the project and is working with:
- Dr Sarah Mander Mapping the evolution of the community energy sector
- Dr Maria Sharmina Survey and statistical analysis
- Dr Ed Manderson (School of Social Sciences) Survey and statistical analysis
- Dr Tim Braunholtz-Speight Primary researcher – data collection, analysis and stakeholder engagement.
Please contact Dr Tim Braunholtz-Speight if you have any questions about the project or would like to get involved.