Scottish Hydro Electric Trust urgently seeks grant applications for community energy schemes

One of the new community-owned affordable homes in Helmsdale supported by the Scottish Hydro Electric Trust
One of the new community-owned affordable homes in Helmsdale supported by the Scottish Hydro Electric Trust

The Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust is making a new push to help community projects connect to the electricity network in the north of Scotland.

The independent charitable trust was set up in 1998 by Scottish Hydro Electric plc (now SSE plc) to help customers and communities in the north of Scotland faced with high charges for a new electricity connection.

Ahead of the next round of applications which closes on Friday 20 May 2016, the Trust has announced that it is extending its support to fund up to 75% of the cost of connections for community projects. 

And it will also now fund up to 50% of this cost for individual customers who need support to meet the costs of a new domestic connection.

Trust Chairman Ron Brown said: “The Trust was set up to recognise the particular challenges often associated with connecting to the electricity network in the north of Scotland, especially in rural and island communities.

 “The fund has helped communities to connect their own renewable power to the grid, as well as supporting the connection of important community housing projects from Harris to Helmsdale.  The importance of electricity continues to grow, with potential for more renewable generation and innovative use in heating, storage and transport.

“We are keen to receive applications from projects that can bring significant benefits to their communities and which require a new electricity connection. 

Last year, the Trust awarded 23 grants totalling more than £60,000 – including a grant of £13,000 to the Helmsdale and District Development Trust towards the connection cost for an affordable housing scheme.

The project has created four new family homes in an economically-fragile Highland village to help combat depopulation and decline.

Paul Harrington from the Helmsdale and District Development Trust said: “The grant from the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust enabled us to meet the costs of connecting the first new affordable homes in our community for more than 35 years. The homes are 100% owned by and for the community, operating a special lettings policy.  Without support from the Trust, the cost of connecting to the electricity network would have been a significant barrier to the delivery of our project.”

Further information and application forms: – www.shect.org

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