We have been involved in leading and supporting the growth of the community energy sector in Scotland since 2002. Our region is recognised as a leader in community energy innovation. Many communities are trailblazing innovative developments, leading their communities through a transition to a strong, low carbon economy.
We aim to build on the strong platform of investment made in recent years to ensure we maximise the number of communities who can benefit from community-owned renewable energy projects.
We will support communities to invest in commercial development opportunities such as those on the National Forest Estate and beyond.
Local Energy Economies
In addition to funding policy forming research, we will invest in the development of innovative approaches to overcome local level grid constraints to facilitate local use of energy. We have been working with Community Energy Scotland to develop this Local Energy Economy agenda
Innovative Finance Solutions
We will also focus on innovative funding solutions as the majority of small scale opportunities are likely to be unattractive to mainstream funders. This intervention will ensure that communities across the region are able to benefit from the significant potential of the sector
HIE will work in partnership with others to ensure the support and conditions are correct for communities across the area to provide a clear route for the development of their community energy project. Some of our key partners include the Scottish Government, Scottish Investment Bank (REIF), Local Energy Scotland (CARES) and Community Energy Scotland.
Find out more about the work HIE is involved with, including the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), Local Energy Challenge Fund and the new HI-SHARES programme.
Designed to represent all organisations in the Highlands and Islands involved in the energy sector. Visit the HI-energy website for information spanning the renewables energy sector in the Highlands and Islands
Investing in your Community - A Guide to Managing Community Funds
This partnership publication from HIE, Social Investment Scotland, DTAS and Community Energy Scotland provides guidance on distributing and managing income from renewable energy projects.
Finding support for your project - Framework contractors
The team at Local Energy Scotland have developed a number of useful frameworks for CARES to help you source experienced support for your community energy project. Template specifications are also provided to help you specify the correct advice.
National Forest Estate - Renewables Opportunities
Forestry Commission Scotland is working with a number of energy developers to build wind and hydro projects on Scotland's National Forest Estate. Part of this programme ensures that communities have flexibility in how they can benefit from these developments.
Scottish Water - Guide for Developers and Communities
Scottish Water will work with communities and developers on private investment projects in renewables on its estate where it provides a good return for customers and is compatible with high quality services. It has developed the Renewable Energy Guide for Developers and Communities which provides information and examples of successful projects.