Community energy

Powering our communities.

Community energy 

We've been involved in leading and supporting the growth of community energy developments in Scotland since 2002. Our region is recognised as a leader in community energy innovation. Many local groups are trailblazing innovative developments and leading their communities through a transition to a strong, low carbon economy.

Our focus 

Recognising the opportunities and benefits of communities utilising community energy projects, we will focus our efforts on: 

  • Direct ownership
    By building on the strong platform of investment made in recent years, we will maximise the number of communities who can benefit from community-owned renewable energy projects.

  • Shared ownership
    We will support communities to invest in commercial development opportunities such as those on the National Forest Estate and beyond.

  • Community 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 unlikely to attractive mainstream funders. Existing and new funding will help communities across the region benefit from the significant potential of local energy solutions.


Launched in early 2015, the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) is a working partnership between the Scottish Government, HIE, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust and sector specialists. 

What is it? 

The Programme aims to support the development of substantive private, public and community low-carbon projects across Scotland through the provision of development support, expert advice and funding. It aims to support Scotland's transition to a low-carbon economy.

Its main focus is assisting projects to develop investment-grade business cases that will help secure public and private capital finance to demonstrate innovative low-carbon technologies in Scotland.

The programme is supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds, and European match funding for the LCITP is guaranteed up until Autumn 2021.

How do I apply?

Applications at feasibility stage or outline business case stage are welcomed at any time. 

Please visit the Scottish Government's website for up to date information on funding rounds currently open and for application guidance. 

The Scottish Government's website 

Who else is benefiting from the programme?

Three projects in the Highlands and Islands received funding to develop projects in the most recent funding round: Glenshee Ski and Snowboard; Abbey Ecosse in Highland; and Scotland Gas Networks in Argyll and Bute.

Read more +

Funding calls

Low Carbon Energy Project Development (LCITP)

LCITP Green Recovery call will target a minimum of £1 million development support for projects with potential to deploy low carbon heat and/or renewable electricity solutions for buildings, as well as proposals for integrated energy systems that support the ambitions for Scotland to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 as well as boost economic recovery from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

Development support of up to £50,000 may be available and projects must provide a minimum of 50% match funding towards the cost of the development work. There is no upper limit to the total cost of project development work.

Financial support from the LCITP to support project development is likely to be offered in the form of procured professional advisors or project managers who will help project partners to develop an investment grade business case. This may include, but is not linited to, activities such as:

  • Support to further refine and scope projects
  • Develop a final business case including economic case, financial case, strategic case, management case, commercial case
  • Carry out market demand analysis
  • Valuations
  • Financial options appraisal and financial modelling – providing support for investment options and propositions
  • Project management support and services

All projects seeking development support from LCITP must have a complete and up-to-date feasibility study to support their application. The feasibility study will provide LCITP with an accurate assessment of the practicality of a proposed project or system. This document must objectively cover the strengths and weaknesses of the project proposal and make a recommendation about project scope. It should also set out at a high level the total cost for delivery and an assessment of the value or benefit to be derived from the project. Projects at the proof of concept stage will not be supported.

Further information:

  1. Overview
  2. Documentation

Apply now

Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES)

The next funding round for CARES is now open, with up to £4.5M available.  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.

Grants available

  1. Enablement Grants Up to £25k (100% for community groups/charities, 50% for all other eligible groups)
  2. Local Development funding – up to £150k for larger infrastructure projects
  3. Local Energy Capital funding

Important dates for Development and Capital funding

Stage 1: Expressions of Interest to be submitted by 22nd July 2020

Stage 2: Full applications to be submitted 2nd September 2020

Enablement grants – year round

Priority areas for this funding call

  1. Urban and rural community-led local energy projects that will stimulate and accelerate the future development of pipeline projects, and that demonstrate economic and social benefits to local communities.
  2. Community-led local energy projects that require capital investment this financial year, i.e. your project is either ‘shovel ready’ or you can tender and start work before April 2021.
  3. Capital investment for existing off-grid communities needing to maintain security of electricity supply, while seeking to transition to net zero. Investment will also support the decarbonisation of heat in off-electricity grid communities.
  4. Rural businesses and farms that need support to complete technical and commercial feasibility work, to stimulate activity in the rural economy by unlocking potential for local energy projects.

The following will not be funded through CARES

  • Development of a pipeline of work for a specific company
  • Projects where the applicant is not willing to share the outputs
  • CARES can’t fund developing/novel technologies at Technology Readiness Level 1- 6
  • Normal commercial business activities
  • Applicants or projects based outside Scotland
  • Applicants not noted in the list of eligible applicants detailed in this guidance note
  • Costs already incurred prior to the award of funding
  • Projects not progressing within the spirit of the CARES scheme
  • Unusual circumstances will be taken on their merits

Find out more and apply


A guide to community energy

Download a copy of our guide to find out more about how we support communities with renewable energy projects. It features a few case studies of communities already using local energy solutions to build a sustainable future for their own local area.

Community energy guide

Pioneering low carbon communities

Communities striving for net zero

View case study