Renewables: Drive for more local ownership

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Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead announced today the first step of a major new programme to deliver the benefits of local ownership of energy into the hands of Scotland’s communities and businesses.

Making the keynote speech at the Scottish and Southern Energy business reception at the Royal Highland Show, Mr Lochhead said:


Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead announced today the first step of a major new programme to deliver the benefits of local ownership of energy into the hands of Scotland’s communities and businesses.

Making the keynote speech at the Scottish and Southern Energy business reception at the Royal Highland Show, Mr Lochhead said:

“During the last few months I have listened to stakeholders including landowners, farmers, local business and communities who all wish to develop and own renewable energy projects using our abundant natural resources.

“A major stumbling block identified by all these groups is access to finance at the high risk pre-planning stage where they are still at risk of being turned down. Advice from the Forum for Renewable Energy Development Scotland (FREDS) confirms this.

“We are firmly committed to driving local ownership of energy and in doing so, securing wider community benefits. I have commissioned a feasibility study to look into early stage financing for renewables projects. It will be carried out by the Scottish Agricultural College in conjunction with Community Energy Scotland who will report back to me in three months.

This study will consider whether a loan fund could be established that will encompass the needs of both the wider community and landowner/farming businesses.

“Community renewables encompasses local ownership of energy, by a wide range of stakeholders including: community groups, landowners, farmers, and business. Many local communities across Scotland have already secured benefits, and we want to achieve much more and on a more ambitious scale.”

Mr Lochhead announced the feasibility study while speaking today at the Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) reception at the Royal Highland Show which included a business session on Opportunities in Sustainable Energy for Scotland’s Farms and Estates.

The Scottish Government commitment to increase the amount of electricity and heat generated from renewable sources is a vital part of the response to climate change. The headline targets of 50 per cent electricity and 11 per cent heat from renewable sources by 2020 have spatial planning implications that need to be addressed in development plans.

Encouraging a diverse range of renewables, while taking account of other environmental considerations, helps to provide a more secure energy market and there are significant opportunities for sustainable economic growth.

A Renewables Action Plan is in place to drive the development of renewable energy and capitalise on Scotland’s natural resources to derive maximum economic benefit. The Plan identifies collective actions by government, its agencies and partners, to ensure at least a fifth of Scotland’s energy comes from renewables by 2020.