Energy Minister announces community renewables loan scheme at Harper Macleod's conference

Projects all over Scotland have already received more than £4.5 million in loans

Scotland, 1st May 2012 --- On Thursday 26th April 2012, at leading law firm Harper Macleod's Scottish Highland Renewable Energy Conference in Inverness, Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism announced a £23.5 million government loan scheme to help communities and rural businesses all over Scotland get community energy renewable projects up to the planning stage.

Scottish communities and rural businesses have already benefited from the loans, which are designed to help small-scale projects which directly benefit their local area, and which would not proceed without the loan. Projects all over Scotland have already received more than £4.5 million in loans, including a Borders housing association which will use the proceeds to improve the houses it offers for rent, and a Highland charity which will become more financially sustainable thanks to a hydro scheme.

The Community and Renewable Energy Loan Scheme (CARES) is designed to support projects before they reach planning as this stage is considered too high risk for commercial loans.

Individual projects can receive loans of up to £150,000 to cover 95 per cent of agreed costs. Free local advice and support is also available.

Priority is given to projects which give the highest value of benefit to their local communities.
The scheme is open to community organisations, rural businesses and joint ventures between the two.
Alongside the scheme, Energy Minster Fergus Ewing updated on progress towards the community and locally owned target of 500 MW by 2020 and launched the Community Benefit Register, designed to help communities all over Scotland maximise the rewards they receive from renewable energy developments, and a database of all community-owned energy resources in Scotland.

The news was welcomed by Harper Macleod's Head of Energy, David Bone: "On all the community projects we are advising on, finance is an issue and therefore any support which helps communities and businesses through the often difficult financing element of a project is warmly welcomed by us. We are delighted that the Minister chose our conference to announce the Scottish Government's new initiative for supporting local communities and their renewable energy initiatives. Alongside Mr Ewing, more than 200 delegates at our conference also heard from, among others, representatives from HIE, the National Grid and Scottish Renewables, which helped keep everyone up to date on the progress of renewable energy in Scotland today."

Next year's conference date has already been announced by Harper Macleod. The 4th Scottish Highland Renewable Energy Conference will take place on 18th April 2013. To reserve your place, email or phone 01463 795 012.

Established in 1988, Harper Macleod is widely recognised for partnering with clients to deliver commercially-focused legal advice. With 48 Partners, 170 fee-earners and a total complement of over 280 staff based in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. The firm is noted for its expertise in key industry sectors, including Banks & Financial Institutions; Energy & Natural Resources; Food, Leisure & Hospitality; Insurance; Property & Construction; Public Sector (including Housing); Retail; Sport; and Family-owned Businesses. Clients include Clydesdale Bank, SSE Renewable Developments, William Hill, E.ON, RBS Insurance, Glasgow 2014 Limited,The Forestry Commission Scotland, The Department for Work & Pensions, The Scottish Government, HEROtsc, HSBC, The Scottish Premier League and Optical Express.

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