Community renewables powering ahead

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The Scottish Government is ahead of schedule in delivering its ambitious targets in community and local ownership of renewable energy projects, Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing has confirmed.

The Scottish Government’s 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy has a target of generating 500 MW from community renewables by 2020. Published new figures today show that, as of June 2012, more than 200 MW of renewable generating capacity came from community and locally owned energy projects – 40 per cent of the target.

These projects provide renewable heat and power for the grid or for local use as well as income for communities the length and breadth of the country from the Mull of Galloway to Foula in Shetland. There are now more than 5,000 renewable energy projects in community and local ownership across Scotland.

Commenting Mr Ewing said:

“To have delivered projects amounting to more than 200 MW of renewable generating capacity is a great success and it’s down to all the people in our communities, helped and supported by the Scottish Government and others. The community renewable schemes can play massive role in building awareness of the benefits of renewable energy across Scotland. I’m determined that the benefits be shared as widely as possible.

“Community projects have been taken up with huge enthusiasm across the country, and especially in the Highland and Islands. Smaller and more remote communities in particular see the obvious benefits of using the resources surrounding them to help increase their independence and security of supply.

“Achieving our 500 MW target could be worth up to £2.4 billion to Scottish communities and rural businesses over the lifetime of those projects.

“And with more than 600 MW at different stages of development and planning, the future for community and locally owned energy across Scotland looks brighter than ever.”

The Scottish Government launched its Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) in 2011, offering loans for pre-planning costs. CARES aims to act as a one-stop shop for advice and support to communities and rural businesses on renewables including technical and financial issues, governance structures, use of income from projects, and new support to encourage innovative solutions to grid access.

We are also helping communities to invest in and receive benefits from commercial scale projects. This includes advice and support on the creation of Joint Ventures between communities and developers.

The Scottish Government has set a target of 500 MW of community and locally owned renewables by 2020. The target includes both communities owned and locally owed projects.

As at the end of June 2012, an estimated 204 MW of community and locally owned renewable energy was operating across Scotland. This is an increase of 39 per cent on the previous year, and comprises 88 MW electrical and 117 MW heat capacity.