The next round of the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewables Energy Scheme (CARES) is now open. Communities, public sector organisations and rural businesses looking to effect long term environmental change are encouraged to apply.
As Scotland begins to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, there is a focus on a green recovery, which will prioritise economic activity that puts climate change mitigation and net zero goals at the heart of business. The support that CARES offers to rural businesses, communities, and third sector organisations as a key part of the government’s green recovery package.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: “I am delighted to announce that a new funding call is now open through our flagship CARES programme, with up to £4.5 million available this year. Priority will be given to community led development and capital stage projects; off grid communities seeking capital investment to help maintain the security of their energy supply and rural businesses seeking development support to explore their renewable options.”
CARES funding can be used to develop projects and install renewable energy generation, such as solar panels on a community owned building, or support local energy projects. Both urban and rural communities are encouraged to apply.
Across Scotland, CARES funding has already supported numerous projects. These include community hydro schemes in Applecross and Callander, where surplus is reinvested for the benefit of the community. In a more urban setting, Edinburgh’s Duddingston Primary School directs income generated from its solar panels to an Inclusion Fund, which ensures that pupils from all backgrounds can take part in activities. They can be viewed on Local Energy Scotland’s searchable map of local energy projects.
More recently, community-owned renewables projects have redirected funds to support their communities through COVID-19, showing the real value that these projects can have locally. CARES recognises that many communities across Scotland are currently stretched, supporting front line services and helping vulnerable people in their communities. There will be future CARES funding calls, so don’t worry if the timing isn’t right for you.
Expressions of interest should be submitted by Wednesday 22 July. Feedback will given, before a deadline for full applications on Wednesday 2 September.
Further information is available on the Local Energy Scotland website.