Evaluation of the Next Generation programme for Community Energy – innovation

Power to Change’s Next Generation programme aims to support the development of innovative business models for community energy businesses.  This evaluation report from CAG consultants summarises findings from Year 2 of CAG Consultant’s evaluation of the innovation programme.  Support and funding from the Next Generation programme has enabled Community Energy Businesses (CEBs) to take risks in developing new business models that are not dependent on Feed-in-Tariff (FiTs) subsidies. Being involved in the programme has built the skills and knowledge within 11 innovation groups, helping them to get to grips with potential new areas of work, including electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints, LED lighting, heat pumps and flexibility services. Most of the new business models explored through the programme aim to delivery community benefit directly (e.g. through low carbon heat or transport interventions) but they currently appear likely to generate less surplus for CEBs than earlier FiTs-supported business models.  Innovative business models supported by the programme also involve more complexity and risk than earlier CEB investments in subsidised renewable energy.