Community energy projects to share £10m Local Energy Challenge Fund

Local Energy Challenge FundThe Scottish Government has awarded over £10 million to support innovative large-scale low carbon local energy projects, energy minister Fergus Ewing has announced.

Speaking at the annual Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Conference in Stirling yesterday, Mr Ewing confirmed that nine projects will receive funding through the Local Energy Challenge Fund.

Among the successful projects were a large scale air source heat pumps district heating scheme for Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), a plan to use surplus energy in Orkney to reduce fuel household costs and a proposal to empower Edinburgh tower block residents to collectively purchase energy and reduce fuel bills.

The GHA project, which was awarded £2.5m, will see 350 homes in multi-storey blocks located at Newlands/Auldburn in Glasgow benefit from clean energy produced by a large scale air source heat pump. Air source heat pumps have until now been only small or used in single properties.

Funding of £1.2m was awarded to the Heat Smart Orkney initiative from the Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust (REWDT).

This project will pilot a smart control system that will link the renewable energy generation from community owned wind turbines with the heating systems in local residents’ homes. Orkney’s electricity grid is curtailed at times, with turbines having to be switched off. The project will use the excess electricity that can’t feed into the grid and divert this to new electric flow boilers or new stand-alone electric heaters and hot water immersion heaters in domestic properties.

Meanwhile, Community Energy Scotland was awarded £900,000 to establish a community Local Energy Supply Company with the sole aim of getting cheaper energy for the residents of the tower blocks at Dumbiedykes in Edinburgh.

Launched in August 2014, the Fund aims to demonstrate the value and benefit of local low carbon energy economies that link energy generation to energy use. The Fund achieves this through supporting innovative projects to develop local energy systems and solutions.

Mr Ewing said: “Community energy represents tremendous potential to empower people to make the most of their local resources.

“By creating a system that focuses on local energy we can help tackle some of our most pressing issues including fuel poverty, increasing costs and security of supply. That is why today, I am delighted to announce the awarding of over £10m to nine projects stretching from Orkney to Galashiels.

“The successful projects include support for a pilot smart energy control system in Orkney and two heat pump projects in Perth and Glasgow to developing a new fuel source from the agricultural sector in Montrose.

“The Scottish Government has put in place a wide range of support to empower communities to take control of their local energy use and supply. The success of this support is demonstrated by the fact that we have achieved our community and locally owned target of 500MW by 2020, five years early.

“Putting communities at the heart of decisions about their local energy system and empowering them to take an economic stake in new developments is central to our distinctive approach to Scotland’s energy future.”

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