Proposed cuts to the small-scale feed-in tariff are placing up to £127 million worth of community projects at risk, Community Energy England (CEE) has claimed.

CEE paired with Quantum Strategy and Technology and Greenpeace to survey 80 community groups, of which 55 confirmed they had intended to develop solar, wind or hydro generation installations. Two-thirds of those said the proposed cuts placed those projects at risk.

Emma Bridge, chief executive at CEE, said the proposals threatened to “seriously damage” a “vibrant and growing sector” and would make it more difficult for communities to “take control of the energy they use”.

Barbara Stoll, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, added: “Community energy projects contribute hugely to local investment, self-reliance, as well as putting people back in touch with their energy supply, but are being put on the back burner.”

The impact on community renewables projects that the proposals will have has been a particular thorn of contention ever since they were disclosed on 27 August and while energy secretary Amber Rudd is on the record as stating her department could look at alternative policy support for such projects, there has yet to be anything formally announced.

Policy which came into force earlier this year allows for community and commercial solar installations no greater than 5MW in capacity each to share a grid connection and still be eligible for the FiT, a move which was widely expected to stimulate the community renewables market as developers looked to get projects over the line without the now-closed RO.

In April CEE chairman Philip Wolfe estimated there to be as much as a “few hundred megawatts” worth of eligible projects in the pipeline, but the future of these now looks increasingly bleak.

Yesterday Primrose Solar CEO Giles Clark voiced his own concerns about the future of community renewables deployment, stating that he felt “very few shared-ownership solar farms will get built” as a result of the proposals.

Scotland has been a particularly strong adopter of community renewables and earlier this month revealed that it had met its initial target for deployment five years ahead of schedule. However speaking to Solar Power Portal last week, Scotland energy minister Fergus Ewing said that “the rug was being pulled from beneath the feet” of communities wanting to develop their own power.

“Communities that get their own energy schemes tend to get the benefit of feeling that they're in charge of their own destiny, creating opportunities and developing quite a lot of money in some cases to help young people or help cut energy costs.

“It's a win-win situation and perversely, in a perplexing fashion, the UK government say they're for community schemes. My statement is prove it,” he said.