Community and Renewable Energy Scheme open for applications

Paul Wheelhouse

A Scottish Government fund to enable locally owned renewable energy projects, such as hydroelectric schemes, community wind turbines or solar panels, is now open for applications.

The launch of the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) was announced by energy minister Paul Wheelhouse during a visit to the Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub, based at the Creed Integrated Waste Management Facility in Stornoway.

The project is a demonstration of how different renewable energy technologies can be integrated to support local energy systems and circular supply chains.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “This is a fantastic project, one that ticks all the boxes in how the Scottish Government wants to transition to a low carbon economy with local energy at its centre. We awarded just over £600,000 to this project through the Local Energy Challenge Fund and I hope this model can be replicated across Scotland.

“As outlined in our Scottish Energy Strategy, our vision is for a flourishing, competitive local and national energy sector, delivering secure, affordable, clean energy for Scotland’s households, communities and businesses. This project does all that.

“I am also pleased to announce that funding is available from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) to develop projects with a more localised energy approach as demonstrated here at this hub.

“The last CARES funding call saw six projects receive around £200,000, including a hydrogen scheme and a solar PV and battery storage study. The second funding call is now open for business with a closing date of September 3 and I would encourage those with a project idea to get in touch with Local Energy Scotland who will help you with your application.”

Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland manager, said: “CARES is a fantastic mechanism and enabler for innovative communities to bring forward renewables projects that benefit their area, both in terms of lowering their carbon footprint but also in generating revenue.

“We look forward to supporting another diverse and exciting range of projects at the second funding panel, which will enable innovative solutions to local energy needs.”

The Local Energy Scotland team will be on hand to help applicants through the process of gaining access to relevant grants and loans.