Research and analysis

Community Renewable Electricity Generation: Potential Sector Growth to 2020

An independent report commissioned by DECC that assesses the potential of Community Energy generation under different scenarios.


Community Renewable Electricity Generation: Potential Sector Growth to 2020

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This research seeks to generate a sense of the potential for growth within the community renewable electricity sector by 2020. The results are intended to offer a sense of what might be achievable given a range of different contexts, rather than provide something that purports to be a precise forecast of what will happen. This report was written by Pete Capener, a former Chief Executive of the Centre for Sustainable Energy with over 25 years of experience in sustainable energy.

The modelling focuses on the development of onshore wind, solar PV and hydro technologies, where there is a proven track record and an approach to delivery that has been replicated and so growth can be more realistically modelled. While other forms of generation, such as anaerobic digestion, have an important part to play, the scale of their current deployment within the community sector means that the modelling approach described in this document is not applicable to these technologies.

The methodology is based around testing the financial viability of community energy organisations’ ability to deliver varying proportions of the existing DECC forecasts for these three technologies to 2020. The figures produced are then reviewed in the light of additional factors like community capacity and other existing data sets for comparison and reality checking.

Published 27 January 2014