The Scottish Government CARES programme has helped 49 renewable energy projects across Scotland in the last six months, providing £2.76 million of grants and loans for communities and rural businesses.
Established to support community uptake of renewable energy projects, Local Energy Scotland was appointed to manage and deliver the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) in August, 2013.
To further support interested communities the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, MSP, today launched a new register mapping projects across Scotland as well as a new website which will provide advice on both the CARES funding available and tools to help manage renewable projects.
The money available through CARES goes towards renewable energy projects for communities and rural businesses across Scotland with the projects supported to date including development funding for a community wind farm in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, which benefited from £150,000 and a wind turbine project in Barra which has received £121,000.
One of the underpinning aims of CARES is to increase community resilience and rural incomes from local ownership of renewable energy projects which will strengthen Scotland’s rural business economy and contribute to the Scottish Government target of 500 megawatts of renewable energy to be locally or community owned by 2020.
Fergus Ewing, Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister, who is presenting the keynote speech at the CARES conference in Glasgow today, said: “The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme is an important and successful initiative which is supporting our ambitious 2020 targets for locally generated renewable energy.
“Central to the new website launched today, is the Scottish Government Register of Community Benefits from Renewables which details the benefits that local communities have received through renewable energy projects, and provides ideas and further advice on spending funds. There is also a wealth of other information on the portal to help people in Scotland engage with the country’s rich renewable energy resource.
“I would strongly encourage developers of renewable energy schemes across Scotland to submit details to the site as we are committed in supporting the development of a commercially viable, diverse renewable industry that will deliver benefits to businesses and the wider public.”
Chris Morris, from Local Energy Scotland said: “With help from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme, many communities and rural businesses in Scotland can significantly benefit from the advantages of taking ownership of their renewable energy.
“I would urge all rural businesses and community groups to visit the newly launched Local Energy Scotland website – localenergyscotland.org – to find out more about the scheme and funding they can receive and see for themselves the projects that have benefitted to date.”