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June 19, 2013

All change for Community Energy Scotland

In recent years, over 300 communities have actively tried to harness the potential of renewable energy.  For some, this results in very significant levels of new income for their communities, for others it may just be a more efficiently heated village hall, but in every case these projects have been supported through the efforts of Community Energy Scotland in the course of delivering the Government’s CARES programme. The recent decision of Scottish Government to award the CARES contract to a different provider was a surprise to many. 


All change at Community Energy Scotland 

I am writing to thank you for your continuing support and to let you know about some changes that we will be introducing to Community Energy Scotland’s business from August onwards this year. 

We have been delivering the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) since April 2009. We were, however, unsuccessful in our bid to deliver the new CARES programme which begins in August 2013. Delivery of the new programme will pass to a consortium led by the UK Energy Saving Trust. For some members, for example those with CARES LOANS or outstanding grant obligations, the relationship will transfer entirely from Community Energy Scotland to Energy Saving Trust. We will help members through this transition and we will do everything we can to assist you with any issues which arise. Members affected should contact the Community Energy Scotland Dingwall Office, or use Community Energy Scotland’s website ( to access this information. 

We have taken this as an opportunity to give consideration to the future development and direction of Community Energy Scotland, as well as the ongoing needs of communities. 

Since its establishment in 2008, Community Energy Scotland has driven forward the prospects for communities to develop and benefit from renewable energy projects. Over 35MW of community-owned capacity has now been installed, with over 100MW currently in development. Our aim has been to ensure communities are able to develop and control their own renewable energy projects as a foundation for their sustainable development. 

We will continue to build on our core mission as Scotland’s leading community energy charity, supporting community-owned project development and championing community needs and aspirations on renewable energy at the highest level, especially those of our 300 + members. 

We aim to radically increase community ownership of renewable energy generation in Scotland and expand the ways in which it benefits communities. 

Following a review of priorities and opportunities, Community Energy Scotland will be focusing on four specific development areas, building on our current work:  

• Strengthening our advocacy, policy and representational work for members and community energy groups, including further development of member services (such as events, training on project development, management and information provision); 

• Renewable energy project development and management services – this will be a new fee-based service focused on community groups and covering the full scope of project development, from the earliest feasibility and resource assessment stage through to post construction management, for both small (microgen) and large-scale projects; 

• Research and Innovation to increase community control of renewable energy resources – we intend to drive forward measures and programmes to increase control and local use of renewable energy, tackling technical, regulatory, financial and policy obstacles. We also intend to step up our efforts to find ways in which the more fragile and deprived communities in Scotland can benefit from the ‘renewables revolution’. 

• International development – we intend to build on our current work on the Malawi Community Energy Development Programme and support community-based sustainable energy development in other developing countries. 

At the same time, we will continue to develop our own renewable energy projects designed to generate revenue to underpin our charitable work. As part of this, we will be keen to explore opportunities for joint ventures with our members. 

Please get back to me if you have any queries or questions on this. The next few months will be a period of significant change for Community Energy Scotland and your support is very important to us. We will be reporting back fully to members at our next AGM and conference, which will be held in Glasgow on 5th November. 

Best wishes 

Carola Bell 


Community Energy Scotland