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June 4, 2008

Renewable energy sector set for boost

Over the past few years, communities in the Highlands and Islands wishing to harness the benefits of renewable energy have been supported by a team within HIE. Next month HICEC (Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company) are changing to become a free standing organisation capable of giving support to communities across a far wider area. Community Energy Scotland is the name of the new company


Community Energy Scotland will take over from the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company in July 2008. Its purpose is to build confidence, resilience and wealth at community level in Scotland through sustainable energy development.

Community Energy Scotland will inherit the work and staff of HICEC and build upon HICEC’s legacy, delivery advice and grant funding on sustainable energy development across Scotland. Unlike HICEC, it will be a membership-based organisation, with membership open to non-profit distributing community groups. For this year (2008-2009) its focus will remain the Highlands and Islands although CES will provide support to groups applying to the Big Lottery’s Growing Community Assets programme over the whole of Scotland.

CES will provide free advice, grant funding and finance for renewable energy projects developed by community groups to benefit their community. This extends to non-profit distributing organisations such as social enterprises and housing associations. CES will assist from the earliest stage of a project idea through to helping to ensure it is running properly once completed.

For example, they can help you if you want to fit renewable energy equipment into a building to help reduce your running costs and use of fossil fuels such as oil. They can also help if you wish to develop a larger-scale project to generate and sell energy to gain a long-term income for your community or organisation. If your group is interested in joining Community Energy Scotland, or you simply want to fimd out more, the link below until such time as CES has developed its own web presence.