The Scottish Government is ahead of schedule in delivering its ambitious targets in community and local ownership of renewable energy projects. The Scottish Government’s 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy has a target of generating 500 MW from community renewables by 2020. New figures 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.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing comments: “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.”
He adds: “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.