The First Minister (pictured left) 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.
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 estimated that this target will be worth up to £2.2 billion 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.
Salmond said: “The new local energy challenge fund 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 £20 million 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.”