Figures published today show that more than 200 megawatts (MW) of renewable generating capacity has come from community and locally owned energy projects since June last year.

This is 40% of the Scottish Government’s 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy target of generating 500 MW from community renewables by 2020.

There are now more than 5,000 renewable energy projects in Scotland which provide renewable heat and power for the grid or for local use as well as income for communities.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Community projects have been taken up with huge enthusiasm across the country, and especially in the Highland and Islands. Smaller and more remote communities in particular see the obvious benefits of using the resources surrounding them to help increase their independence and security of supply.

“Achieving our 500 MW target could be worth up to £2.4bn to Scottish communities and rural businesses over the lifetime of those projects.

“And with more than 600 MW at different stages of development and planning, the future for community and locally owned energy across Scotland looks brighter than ever.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) welcomed the figures, claiming that if Scotland is to meet its 100% renewable ambition, it is vital that local communities are also given the opportunity to benefit.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Direct ownership by communities is a great idea that has helped drive the roll-out of renewables elsewhere in the world, so it’s only right we do the same here.

“Where community ownership of schemes is not possible we’d prefer renewable energy companies give greater emphasis to supporting local energy efficiency improvements – helping every household to reduce their energy demand and save money for many years to come.”

Conor McGlone

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