£2.4m funding to help develop renewable energy schemes in rural Scotland

£2.4m funding has been announced to help the development of renewable energy schemes in rural Scotland.

The funds are being put into the Scottish Government's existing Communities and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Loan Fund, which from April will be opened up to farmers and other land managers for the first time.

The expanded fund will build on the CARES grants scheme that, last year alone, supported 300 community-based projects, which are expected to generate well over £20m over the next 20 years.

The £7.75m CARES scheme includes support and advice at a local level and is open to community groups, land managers, local businesses and co-operatives working in partnership with community groups. To access the fund, land managers should form partnerships with local communities to share revenue.

The additional £2.4m has been made available through savings within the Rural Development and Environment portfolio.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Renewable energy generation at a local level has the potential to be a real money spinner. However, I am told repeatedly by farmers that, while aware of the benefits to be obtained from renewables, they are put off pursuing schemes because of the expense of reaching the pre-planning stage."

"This scheme is designed to cover the risk of the pre-planning stage by offering loans of up to 90 per-cent of the costs, providing there's a minimum community benefit from the project. This is in addition to the Feed-In-Tariffs and the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive."

Further information:
Scottish Government