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Community energy conference to inspire new developments

Written by  Lynne Heraghty
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Funding from CARES helped the Mull and Iona Community Trust find the best site for a hydroelectric scheme, then provided a £150,000 loan to help finance the development. It is estimated the scheme will generate £2.4million for community funds over the next 20 years. Funding from CARES helped the Mull and Iona Community Trust find the best site for a hydroelectric scheme, then provided a £150,000 loan to help finance the development. It is estimated the scheme will generate £2.4million for community funds over the next 20 years.

The annual Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Conference is a two-day event that aims to give groups all the information they need to get low carbon and renewable energy developments off the ground and generating benefits for their communities.

Taking place at the Golden Lion Hotel in Stirling on April 26 and 27, the event will welcome expert speakers, including the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, and Chris Stark, the Scottish Government’s director for energy and climate change.

Chris Stark said: “Local energy forms a key pillar of the Scottish Government’s energy vision and the CARES Conference is the ideal opportunity to find out more about our aims and ambitions for Scotland’s energy.

“We look forward to engaging with stakeholders on our draft Energy Strategy and to gather opinions on how we can support local projects to shape our energy future.”

Attendees will hear how the Scottish Government CARES programme has helped to deliver 265 community energy schemes so far, including the Rumbling Bridge Community Hydro Society in Crook of Devon, Callander Community Hydro Scheme and the Barra Community Wind Turbine.

And specific breakout sessions will be held to provide further information on financing developments, including applying for CARES support, project management issues and available technology.

Chris Morris of Local Energy Scotland, who manage CARES on behalf of the Scottish Government, said: “We always look forward to this event as it’s a melting pot of ideas and an event with a real buzz. It’s inspiring to hear the amazing stories and achievements of communities supported through CARES.

“An important aspect of the event is that the views we obtain from delegates helps ensure CARES delivers for the sector. This year is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a stake in local energy projects to help to shape the future Energy Strategy.”

Delegates will be able to meet with the leaders of existing community energy projects, and there will be a free conference dinner at the end of the first day.

Views gathered from the event will also be fed into the Scottish Government’s energy targets and help shape future support to help achieve these objectives.

To find out more and to book visit www.localenergyscotland.org/conference or call free on 0808 808 2288.

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