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Community ownership of Scottish energy projects gets £21m boost

Five projects across Scotland will benefit from more than £20m in funding that will help reshape how energy is delivered and used in communities throughout the country.

The funding allocation, from the Local Energy Challenge Fund, was announced by Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing at the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme conference organised by Local Energy Scotland.

The fund was announced by former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond last year and confirmed Scotland’s position as a global leader in renewables and low-carbon development.

The successful recipients are:

  • Community Energy Scotland, which will receive £1.8m to develop viable grid connections for small-scale generators in areas of constrained network on Mull;
  • Insch Renewable Energy Consortium, which has been given £6m to develop a community energy system linking local energy demand with local renewable generation in a rural area of Aberdeenshire, helping to reduce electricity costs;
  • Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association will get a grant of £3.2m to develop innovative local heat storage solutions, which will help alleviate fuel poverty for over 1,000 tenants across Falkirk and the Lothians;
  • Highland Council will receive £6m to provide low-carbon affordable heat and alleviate fuel poverty via a water-source heat pump district heating network in Caol near Fort William that will benefit over 500 homes; and
  • Bright Green Hydrogen has been given £4m to use hydrogen to meet local transport, heating and storage needs across Levenmouth.

In addition to the awarding of the funds, Mr Ewing also confirmed the Challenge Fund would be open for a second round and that the Scottish government planned to publish its consultation on Good Practice Principles on Shared Ownership of Onshore Developments.

Announcing the allocation of the funds, Mr Ewing said: “These projects are a huge step towards defining a distinctive approach to Scotland’s future energy provision. They will provide vital learning across extremely challenging areas, such as adding value to local economies, matching local supply and demand, and addressing fuel poverty.

“But we know this is just the beginning, and we want to support more innovations like these. This is why the Scottish government will run a second Challenge Fund, subject to the next spending round, making up to £500,000 available in 2015/2016.”

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