Communities across Scotland are being encouraged by the government to develop locally-owned renewable energy scheme with the cash announced today (October 5).

The decision means the Scottish government will scrap its current grants scheme in favour of a loan based system which will have to be repaid in full with interest.

To qualify for funding the projects will have to legally use at least 20% the net profit before tax to benefit the local community.

Funding will be organised through the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) and is aimed at directly helping with the tough start up and pre-planning costs of 42 renewable energy projects.

Of the projects, 29 are community-owned, one is owned by a rural business and the remaining 12 have been brought forward by farmers.

The will produce around 56MW of wind and hydro energy and, the government hopes, make a contribution towards its, target of 500MW of community and locally-owned renewable energy by 2020.

They are 32 wind turbine schemes, nine hydro schemes and one anaerobic digestion plant.

Scottish energy minister, Fergus Ewing, said: “Scotland is already leading the way in the UK, helping communities across the country own their own energy projects, and to benefit from them – last year alone, CARES grants benefited more than 300 projects across Scotland

“We want every community in Scotland to share in the rewards of the green energy revolution, and the CARES loans are a practical way to make that happen.”

Luke Walsh

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