COMMUNITY ENERGY INVESTMENT
IN THE GREENSCIES SCHEME
GreenSCIES (Smart Community Integrated Energy System) is a group of organisations working together on a government funded project, to deliver a detailed design for a smart energy system, focusing on the London Borough of Islington. The system will provide heating, cooling, power and mobility. By using local power generation and waste heat, it will significantly reduce carbon emissions. The design will be replicable elsewhere in London and the UK and beyond.
We are exploring options to offer a community energy investment opportunity in GreenSCIES, which would enable the scheme to be partly owned by community investors. We want to tell you more about what community energy investment means, and its potential to create a just and fair transition.
Investing in community energy
For more information on community energy and to see examples of community energy projects, you can visit Community Energy England’s website.
Community energy is when a group of people come together to develop their energy project. In most cases, these projects involve generating renewable energy, but they can also involve improving energy efficiency. Most community energy groups are Community Benefit Societies, which are similar to co-operatives.
Community energy projects are funded mostly through loans and community share offers. Community share offers are are a way of raising investment capital from communities. The profits generated by the energy projects are used to repay the investors with a return, and to benefit the wider community as well. Investors become members of their Society, and have a say on how its projects are run.
To date, the community energy sector has raised over a quarter of a billion pounds of investment for low carbon projects and initiatives. In 2019, investment in the community energy sector totalled £31m. This was primarily made up of loans (approx. £23m) and community share offers (approx. £5m).
In 2019, community energy has created...
What are community shares?
Community shares are defined by the Community Shares Unit as non-transferable, withdrawable shares in an independent society with a voluntary or statutory asset lock that is owned and democratically controlled by the community it serves (a Co-operative or Community Benefit Society).
Shareholders have the right to withdraw their share capital, subject to the terms and conditions stated in the society’s rules and share offer document. But they cannot sell or transfer their shares or liquidate the business in order to achieve a capital gain. Unlike company share, community shares aren’t traded on the stock market.
Community shares are a social rather than a financial investment. The main reason to invest is to support an entreprise that will benefit a community. They are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation scheme. They cannot go up in value, but they can go down meaning that you could lose some or all of the money you invest.
Opportunities and barriers for community energy investment
London South Bank University and Repowering London are conducting a survey to better understand people’s attitudes to community energy projects, and identify opportunities and barriers for community energy investment.
This research is part of a project being conducted by the Access to Innovation project at London South Bank University, match funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
We will be soon sharing the survey results with you on this page, so stay tuned!
Investing in GreenSCIES
The GreenSCIES consortium received a grant from InnovateUK for the current detailed design project. To build this energy system, GreenSCIES will be seeking grant funding to fund half of the project’s capital costs. The other half will be funded by a combination of large investors and potentially community investors.
If you are interested in the opportunity to invest in Islington’s first smart energy system, you can register your interest below. We’ll be in touch!
If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email Eva at firstname.lastname@example.org