Communities from Glasgow to western Harris are set to benefit from £500,000 in funding for demonstrator projects designed to encourage the use and local ownership of renewable energy.

A third of the projects are specifically focussed on town and city areas, building on the already established trend for community ownership of renewable energy sources in more rural areas.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced last month that community and locally owned energy capacity in Scotland could generate enough electricity to power approximately 100,000 domestic households.

It is the second tranche of funding from a government fund.

Each project has received funding of up to £25,000 for feasibility work and, if successful, may be able to compete for significant capital support.

The 23 projects include a scheme, Community Energy Supply for Urban Areas, which will allow residents or landlords of multi-occupancy blocks in Glasgow and Edinburgh to form Local Energy Supply Companies.

These will negotiate the cost of their imported electricity with national energy suppliers.

Another capital project, UrbanLink, is to identify opportunities to install new hardware in 1000 households, including modern electrical and thermal energy domestic storage.

Others to benefit include a project provide an example of off-grid district heating to Glasgow Housing Association multi-storey blocks built in 1971 in South Glasgow. It will use a large scale Air Source Heat Pump, an alternative to electric or gas heating.

A Linlithgow project will use heat pump and solar panel technology to capture heat from the local waste water system and distribute it to town centre buildings.

Mr Ewing said: "The Scottish Government is defining a distinctive approach to Scotland's future energy provision; putting communities at the heart of decisions about their local energy system; and empowering them to take an economic stake in new developments.

"Community ownership gives communities more control over their own energy and will help us tackle challenges like grid constraints and fuel poverty - while at the same time sparking economic revival.

"Onshore wind is our most successful technology for community benefits, but it is by no means the only game in town. I am excited by the breadth and depth of the work this funding will support and am equally pleased that the projects will explore the potential for ownership of renewable technologies to support all of the communities in Scotland, be they in Gala or Glasgow."

Laura Campbell, Challenge Fund Project Manager, said: "Local Energy Scotland is delighted to be able to provide support through the Local Energy Challenge Fund to these 23 innovative and aspirational projects. We are looking forward to working with the projects over the next year to develop their proposals further. It's exciting to think that these projects have the potential shape the future of Scotland's local energy economies and act as demonstrators for other communities."

SOURCE: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/new-funding-for-community-renewables-projects-in-urban-areas.131764420

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