The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is aiming to help rural communities access the funding necessary to carry out feasibility studies into renewable energy projects.
The funding will apply to rural projects which are part of the renewable and low carbon categories. These include wind, solar, biomass, heat pumps, anaerobic digestion, Combined Heat and Power and hydro. The RCEF will also provide money to cover the costs associated with applying for planning permission.
Once schemes are initiated, it is hoped that they will attract private financing to pay for renewable energy inventory and get projects up and running.
Investment to kick start hundreds of renewable projects
Greg Barker, the energy and climate change minister, said that the investment will help kick start hundreds of green energy projects in rural areas across England. He added these initiatives do not just bring people together, provide a boost for local economies and drive green growth, but they can also help save money on energy bills.
“We have already seen more than two hundred great community energy projects begin to blossom thanks to our Local Energy Assessment Fund, and I would encourage as many rural communities as possible to grasp this new opportunity with both hands,” he said.
Two stages of funding
The RCEF offers two stages of funding. Communities can initially apply for a grant of up to £20,000 for feasibility studies into local renewable energy projects. Once research has been completed, communities are then able to apply for up to £130,000 of funding to help with project costs.
This loan is repayable to the government once projects have received the necessary private sector funding required.