Scotland’s community renewable energy scheme conference to focus on funding

Funding from CARES helped the Mull and Iona Community Trust find the best site for its Garmony hydroelectric scheme and provided a £150,000 loan to help finance the development. It is estimated the scheme will generate £2.4 million for community funds over the next 20 years.
Funding from CARES helped the Mull and Iona Community Trust find the best site for its Garmony hydroelectric scheme and provided a £150,000 loan to help finance the development. It is estimated the scheme will generate £2.4 million for community funds over the next 20 years.

Community groups and social enterprises across Scotland are being invited to a free conference to learn about the latest funding and support packages for local energy schemes.

The annual Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) conference is a two-day event that aims to give groups all the information they need to get low carbon and renewable energy developments off the ground and generating benefits for their communities.

Taking place in Stirling later this month, speakers include Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse and Chris Stark, the Scottish Government’s director for energy and climate change.

Stark said: “Local energy forms a key pillar of the Scottish Government’s energy vision and the CARES Conference is the ideal opportunity to find out more about our aims and ambitions for Scotland’s energy.

Attendees will hear how the Scottish Government CARES programme has helped to deliver 265 community energy schemes so far, including the Rumbling Bridge Community Hydro Society in Crook of Devon, Callander Community Hydro Scheme and the Barra Community Wind Turbine.

And specific breakout sessions will be held to provide further information on financing developments, including applying for CARES support, project management issues and available technology.

The CARES loan fund aims to provide loans towards the high-risk, pre-planning consent stages of renewable energy projects which have significant community engagement and benefit.

Chris Morris of Local Energy Scotland, who manage CARES on behalf of the Scottish Government, said:  “An important aspect of the event is that the views we obtain from delegates helps ensure CARES delivers for the sector. This year is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a stake in local energy projects to help to shape the future <Scottish> Energy Strategy.

“Views gathered from the event will also be fed into the Scottish Government’s energy targets and help shape future support to help achieve these objectives.”

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