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Community renewables meets target early

Published: 6 Oct 2015 00:01

Estimated 508MW in community and local ownership.

A target which aims to get renewable energy into community or local ownership has been met five years early.

An estimated 508 megawatts (MW) of community and locally owned capacity is now operational in Scotland which exceeds the 500MW target by 2020.

The announcement was made by the Energy Minister Fergus Ewing ahead of the Holyrood Magazine Community Energy Conference in Perth later today.

The Scottish Government's recently published its first ever Community Energy Policy Statement, which outlines the economic and social benefits of shared energy ownership and promotes a new approach to energy development in Scotland.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

"Community energy represents tremendous potential to empower people to make the most of their own local resources. By creating a system that focuses on local energy, we can help to tackle some of our most pressing issues – from security of supply, to increasing energy costs - and stimulate local economic renewal.

"I am delighted we have met this target early which creates a huge opportunity to increase our ambition and to keep Scotland in the lead. We will be considering the scope to review our target alongside other energy policy development over the coming months.

"There are still challenges we need to overcome - community energy generally has higher capital costs, longer lead in times and frequent delays in connecting to the grid, while the UK Government is intent on slashing support for small scale renewables.

"The first national Community Energy Policy Statement makes community energy a central part of our energy ambitions and we are providing the best possible environment to help ambitious community groups reap the financial benefits of owning or hosting renewables schemes. I want to see more communities take decisions about their local energy system and to have an economic stake in new developments."

Notes to editors

The community energy policy was published in September http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/CEPS2015

The main Scottish Government support for community energy is:

  • the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), delivered by Local Energy Scotland, which aims to provide end to end support – both through finance and mentoring – to community groups from their initial engagement in the renewable journey through to installing technologies themselves or benefitting from commercial schemes;
  • the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), delivered by Scottish Investment Bank, which is a capital support mechanism, offering loans, guarantees and equity to commercial renewables developers and community groups at market rates to address market failure in priority areas, such as marine energy and community renewables;
  • Local Energy Challenge Fund to demonstrate the value of a local energy economy approach with over £20 million being offered this financial year.

Contact

Chris Nabney: 0131 244 2670