£20m fund to 'reshape' local energy in Scotland

Published on Monday, 18 August 2014 12:00
Written by Govtoday staff

Community partners in Scotland will be able to bid to be part of a new £20m local energy challenge fund, first minister Alex Salmond announced today.

The first minister said the fund will help reshape how energy is delivered and used in communities throughout the country, confirming Scotland's position as a global leader in renewables and low carbon development.

Salmond was speaking ahead of today's cabinet meeting in Arbroath, the final meeting before next month's referendum.

From today, local partnerships including community groups, charities, local authorities, housing associations, universities and businesses can apply to set up low-carbon energy pilot projects in their areas, through the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Local Energy Challenge Fund.

The Scottish government's target is to see 500 MW of renewables in the community and locally-owned by 2020. The Fraser of Allander Institute has now estimated that this target will be worth up to £2.2bn over the lifetime of associated projects.

The new fund coincides with the launch of the Community Energy Policy Statement (CEPS) which sets out the Scottish government's record of support for community energy and new ambition for holistic local energy solutions. Members of the public and other interested parties will be asked to put forward their views on the statement during a 12-week consultation period.

Tomorrow, cabinet ministers will be making a series of announcements which will touch on the contribution of food and drink, construction and tourism to the Scottish economy.

The first minister said: "Today, my cabinet colleagues and I will undertake a series of visits in Arbroath, seeing first hand some of the great success stories of the Scottish economy.

"This is a confident Scotland, building on its strengths and ready to be a successful independent nation.

"This visit to Arbroath will not only reflect on the success of the local area, it will also highlight strengths we have across our economy and across Scotland. Industries like tourism, food and drink, construction are all areas where we have real strengths that will help drive our economy after we have secured independence.

"The new local energy challenge fund is a prime example of that. It is an opportunity to build on Scotland's outstanding strength in renewable and low carbon energy and to reshape how energy is delivered and used in communities throughout the country.

"Scotland is already leading the way in the UK, helping communities to own and benefit from their own energy projects. By giving people a stake in heat and electricity generating technologies, we can address climate change through low carbon projects, and also tackle fuel poverty.

"We are already well on track to meeting our 2020 target with over 285 MW of community and locally-owned renewables in operation. This £20m investment will take our commitment one step further and ensure more value from the generation is retained locally.

"Renewable energy is extremely valuable to Scotland's economy, reducing our carbon emissions and in providing low carbon energy supplies, as well as jobs and long term investment.

"I am confident this fund will help facilitate some of the country's most innovative and exciting energy projects, and it cements our position as a global leader in renewables and low carbon development."

Source: Scottish government

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