On 17 February 2015 in Edinburgh, Vince Cable announced the launch of a new scheme to support community-scale renewable energy projects. A new hydro-electricity generating project near Loch Lomond will be the first to benefit
The new fund will provide financial support for up to 30 projects across the UK. With a combined output of 24 MW of renewable energy, they will provide enough electricity to power over 17,000 homes.
The first project to benefit from the funding is a new hydro-power generator on the river Allt Coire Chaorach near the village of Crianlarich, about 10 miles north of Loch Lomond. The £8.5m scheme will provide enough electricity for 1,700 homes and will bring new investment and highly-skilled jobs into the rural community.
The UK Business Secretary announced the launch of the new equity investment fund at the headquarters of the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB). The GIB are investing £50m with another £10m coming from the Strathclyde Pension Fund. Administered by Albion Community Power plc, the aim is to raise £40m from other investors.
Vince Cable said ‘Renewable energy is the future, and we must continue to use all of the new and established technologies at our disposal to power our homes and businesses in a way that doesn’t damage the environment.’
Councillor Paul Rooney, Chair of Strathclyde Pension Fund, said: ‘I’m pleased that Strathclyde Pension Fund will be providing funding to innovative projects that might otherwise have been frozen out of the market – and that the investment made by our members in their own future will support the future of our communities, through improved infrastructure and jobs.’
The money will provide equity funding of between £1m and £10m for a range of community-scale renewable construction projects. They include run-of-river hydropower, onshore wind on brownfield sites such as industrial estates, and biogas projects including anaerobic digestion and landfill gas. With a total pot of £100m, this will be the largest single source of equity funding for community-scale renewable energy projects in the UK.