New help for communities to invest in Highland renewables

wind_farmA new programme to help communities and social enterprises to generate income by investing in commercially owned renewable energy developments in the Highlands has been launched as part of UK Community Energy Fortnight.

The local enterprise agency has introduced the programme to deliver one to one support, tailored development workshops and specialist support to raise awareness of, and accelerate, the completion of investment opportunities.

The programme, entitled HI-SHARES, dovetails with the Scottish Government’s CARES programme which exists to support communities with renewable energy developments and work closely with sector stakeholders.

Melanie MacRae, development manager for HI-SHARES, said: “We recognise that some communities might not want to take on the development of a renewable energy project single handed. Investment in shared ownership is an innovative alternative model to enable communities to generate a sustainable income from renewables.

“There are a number of opportunities in the region and we are very pleased to be able to provide this support for our clients. The service will work closely with our existing community organisation clients while also having a focus on our fragile and employment action areas to ensure maximum benefit for the region.”

The agency is already helping communities in Mid-Argyll acquire ownership of two wind turbines; one on each of two major planned wind farms. The programme is funding specialist support to help the group develop a strategic plan and engage with relevant organisations. This has the potential to bring long term benefit to local communities and to Argyll more widely.

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