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£3m CARES funding to support off-grid energy projects in rural and island areas


By John Davidson

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Energy secretary Michael Matheson says the funding will help address unique challenges in rural areas.
Energy secretary Michael Matheson says the funding will help address unique challenges in rural areas.

The Scottish Government says it is providing funding to help communities in rural and island areas develop cleaner, greener and cheaper energy.

Provided through the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), it says the investment will empower communities which operate existing local independent grid electricity systems to develop local, independent and climate-friendly electricity supplies.

A total of £3 million is being made available to develop projects in 2022-23, with applications to the fund, administered by Local Energy Scotland, now open.

Since 2013, £54 million of CARES funding has helped 600 local and community-owned renewable energy projects across Scotland.

These include the installation of more solar panels and storage batteries to increase renewable electricity generation on Eigg, and the construction of a new buried hydropower pipeline to bring secure, renewable energy to the community of Knoydart.

Net zero and energy secretary Michael Matheson said: “Our journey to becoming a net-zero nation will be truly transformative, and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring we deliver this transformation in a way that is fair and just for everyone.

“Over the coming years, our transition to using renewable heating sources presents a huge opportunity to make our energy supply not just greener, but also cheaper and more secure.

“We know that there are some unique challenges to establishing zero and low-carbon electricity networks in off-grid locations – particularly on our islands and in rural areas. That is why we are committed to delivering tangible support, through initiatives such as the CARES programme, to ensure we meet our climate obligations while at the same time seizing the opportunities this presents to ensure a greener, fairer future for everyone.”


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