Community renewables funding boost for Scotland
Twenty three renewable energy projects across Scotland will share £500,000 of funding through a scheme designed to encourage the local uptake of green technologies.
The 23 projects include a way to capture and distribute heat from local waste water, as well as the formation of Local Energy Supply Companies (LESCOs), where towerblock residents produce and import energy to the grid.
Specifically, the money – from the second round of the Local Energy Challenge Fund – will be used for feasibility studies, with successful schemes in line to receive further “significant capital support”.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is defining a distinctive approach to Scotland’s future energy provision; putting communities at the heart of decisions about their local energy system; and empowering them to take an economic stake in new developments.
“Community ownership gives communities more control over their own energy and will help us tackle challenges like grid constraints and fuel poverty – while at the same time sparking economic revival.
“Onshore wind is our most successful technology for community benefits, but it is by no means the only game in town. I am excited by the breadth and depth of the work this funding will support and am equally pleased that the projects will explore the potential for ownership of renewable technologies to support all of the communities in Scotland, be they in Gala or Glasgow.”
Ewing has previosuly stated that community and locally-owned energy capacity in Scotland could generate enough electricity to power approximately 100,000 domestic households.
Scottish Renewables' director of policy Jenny Hogan said the funding-round showcased the “the huge range of innovation happening at a local level in Scotland". She added: "These are projects which the public could walk right past in the street and not notice, yet many are at the leading edge of development anywhere in the world.
“Of particular interest is the growing use of energy storage – both electrical and heat, and in a domestic and a commercial setting – and the huge advances being made in applying heat pump technology to larger projects.
“These valuable demonstrator schemes bring those technologies from the drawing board to reality, and reflect the forward-thinking attitude we need to create a more sustainable future and help combat climate change."
Scotland is already home to the UK’s largest urban community renewables project, after Edinburgh Council announced plans to install community-owned solar panels on 25 buildings back in May.
The UK Government has also said that community schemes will be a priority for DECC throughout the next Parliament.