Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

May 6, 2009

Boost for community energy schemes

The potential benefits for communities when they become involved in renewable energy projects have never been greater. Last week, the sector received a massive boost when our own renewable energy specialists  – Community Energy Scotland -  won the contract to deliver  the Government’s flagship community energy scheme across Scotland.  An added bonus is that the maximum grant available has increased by 50%

Community Energy Scotland, the Dingwall-based charity, has won the contract to deliver the Government’s flasghip community energy scheme across Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s Communities and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is the rebranded SCHRI programme which has already enabled communities to develop over 400 of their own renewable energy projects. 
CARES is open to any non-profit distributing community organisation and can provide funding for technical support, relevant training and the installation of renewable energy equipment.   Funding is available for a wide range of renewable energy technologies to generate electricty with a particular emphasis on generating heat.     The maximum grant available is £150,000, an increase of 50% on the levels available under the previous Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative.

Nicholas Gubbins, Community Energy Scotland chief executive, said: “We are delighted that Community Energy Scotland has been selected to deliver the scheme.  There is already a high level of interest and enthusiasm within Scottish communities for developing their own energy projects.  These projects can bring real benefits to communities, helping to address energy costs and making a significant contribution to Scotland’s carbon and renewable energy targets.”

Energy Minister Jim Mather, said: “I want to maximise the benefits of renewable energy to communities throughout Scotland.  There is so much more a community can gain from renewables projects, over and above financial benefits. For example, increased community cohesion and confidence, skills development and supporting local economic regeneration. CARES is here to continue and build on the support previously delivered through the Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative (SCHRI).  I am increasing the maximum grant level by 50% above that offered by SCHRI so that capital grants of up to £150K are now available and I would urge community groups to get in touch with their local CARES Development Officer and see what support is available to help their community to develop its own renewable energy project.”

Jack Welch, volunteer project co-ordinator for Guildtown Community Association, Perthshire, said: “Through SCHRI we were able to install a heat pump and solar thermal panels as part of our hall refurbishment.  As well as creating a very warm comfortable environment, the confidence we gained from carrying out this project has inspired our community to take forward other sustainable projects and we look forward to working with Community Energy Scotland through CARES.”
Community Energy Scotland
Householders will still be able to access advice and grants through Energy Saving Scotland. See:

Further information

Community Energy Scotland is an independent Scottish Charity.  Its main headquarters are in Dingwall but it has 11 offices in communities across Scotland. 
It has 3 key areas of work. 

1. Delivery of the Scottish Government’s Communities and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) across Scotland.
2. It also assists community groups to develop their own larger-scale renewable energy projects designed to generate long-term revenue to underpin their own community’s development. 
3. It also supports community applicants to Big Lottery Scotland’s Growing Community Assets programme. 

To date, Community Energy Scotland (and its predecessor organisation, Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company) have delivered 507 community energy projects.  243 of these have been the installation of renewable energy plant into community facilities.  Community Energy Scotland is also working with 36 communities developing their own wind and hydro projects to generate long-term revenue for reinvestment in their local area.  Community Energy Scotland is the only Scottish Charity which offers all of the following: 

• Development advice and guidance on community energy ,
• Funding for start-up, technical assistance and capital installations
• Pre-development funding for community led and owned income generating projects
• Annual community energy conference 
• Nationwide community energy network / forum

For more information contact Marion O’Hara, Community Energy Scotland Tel. 01349 860122 or