Funding boost for local renewable energy projects

More than £500k has been secured by 30 local renewable energy projects across the UK as the first recipients of investment from the Government's Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF).

Unveiled today (14 July) by the Fund’s administrator WRAP, the 30 projects receiving loans represent a variety of technologies, including community-scale solar power, hydro, wind and anaerobic digestion. (Scroll down for interactive map).

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “It’s great to see so many communities across the UK benefitting from local clean energy. I want to see more communities becoming producers of energy – powering schools, market towns and community centres sustainably – and boosting their economy at the same time.”

The RCEF represents a joint initiative between DECC and Defra. Launched last year, the Fund offers a total of £15m to help community groups in rural areas develop local renewable energy projects.

Future projects

The fund provides up to £150k-worth of investment for individual projects, with a grant of £20k to pay for initial feasibility studies and a loan of up to £130k to support planning applications and attract further investment.

The projects receiving funding include a plan in Cumbria to directly heat a local primary school from a community-owned anaerobic digestion facility and a group in the south west of England planning to build solar panels on commercial and community buildings in its market town.

More projects are currently under assessment and are expected to receive financial support during the six-year lifetime of the fund, which will be managed by WRAP for the duration. 

WRAP director Richard Swannell added: “I’m delighted by the interest we’ve received, and the ambitious nature of projects we’ve had in the first year. It’s helped give renewable energy a boost from the ground up.”

Interactive Map: RCEF-winning projects

Matt Field

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