A new funding scheme has been launched which promises to reduce electricity bills and benefit communities across the Outer Hebrides.
Community groups are being encouraged to express interest in the Outer Hebrides Community Energy Fund (OHCEF). Designed to assist with energy efficiency projects, it has been developed by Community Energy Scotland (CES) in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and LEADER.
The £259,985 grant scheme is designed to address gaps in current support for community led energy projects within the Outer Hebrides, particularly renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that contribute to community sustainability.
The eighteen month scheme will be managed and administered by Community Energy Scotland, offering communities the chance to win a grant of up to a maximum of £30,000. Partners HIE and LEADER have each awarded £125,000 towards the fund.
The grant will assist community groups, who own and manage facilities, to become more energy efficient, which is turn will help them become more sustainable and more profitable. It may also be used to assess the feasibility of income generating renewable energy projects, helping communities to assess the possibility of different renewable options.
Jane MacIntosh, Head of Strengthening Communities at HIE, said: " The Outer Hebrides Community Energy Fund is designed to help communities assess the viability of renewable energy projects, which could in turn directly benefit the areas they serve both in terms of saving money and generating income. Climate change and rising fuel costs will mean a greater dependency on renewable energy sources but there is also a need for individuals and organisations to be more efficient in their use of energy and energy conservation. Any communities that are interested in the fund should go online to register their interest."
Cllr. Archie Campbell, Chairperson of the LEADER Innse Gall Local Action Group (LAG) adds that "The fund will assist to improve the carbon footprint of communities and the implementation of renewable measures assisting them to receive additional benefits that otherwise would not have been available to them."
The LAG not only believes that the scheme will create a means to commercial sustainability for community enterprises but could also be a method to generate funds to strengthen communities across the Outer Hebrides.
Community Energy Scotland is delighted to be able to deliver this fund for the benefit of communities across the Outer Hebrides. For more information about the fund and how your community can apply please contact Community Energy Scotland's Development Officer Kathleen MacDonald on 01851 707 333 or email@example.com