CARES Conference 2022: Community Climate Action

Watch all the sessions from the CARES Conference 2022 on our YouTube channel.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Join us for our annual CARES conference, which will take place online during Scotland’s Climate Week. This year we’ll be looking at how communities can take climate action with the support of the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

In our plenary sessions we’ll look at the global challenges around energy costs and climate change, and we’ll hear from the communities that are making a difference at a local level. We also aim to bring you inspirational case studies as well as the policy behind the action. We’ll be joined by Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights.

In the afternoon we’ll look at some of the key skills and actions needed to drive change in your communities in our ‘How to’ sessions. We’ll also take a look at some in-depth case studies on heat and hear from the teams that have successfully delivered projects.

We’ll close with a CARES funding surgery. Find out more about the support available from CARES, speak directly to a development officer for more detailed information, and think about the next steps for climate action in your community.


9.45am – Sign in (Microsoft Teams)

Please note that the following times for the morning session are approximate.

10am – 10.30am – welcome

Download the Welcome presentation.

10.30am – 11.30am – From global issues to local action

Panel discussion and Q&A. Speakers include:

  • Professor Janette Web MBE FEI, University of Edinburgh – Janette will talk about the global context for community energy and what the future looks like for community energy. Janette is a Edinburgh University Professorial Fellow in Social Studies of Energy, UK Energy Research Centre Co-Director (Local and Regional Energy Systems) and UKRI EnergyREV Co-Investigator. She is a member of Ofgem/Innovate UK Strategic Innovation Fund expert panel on Whole Systems Integration and Scottish Science Advisory Council Energy Group.

Download the presentation for Global Context for Community Energy in Scotland.

  • Professor Tahseen Jafry,  Director, Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University – Tahseen will look at what we can learn and share from different perspectives and how this can help in the roll out of a just and values based approach to renewable energy to ensure no-one is left behind. Tahseen’s research interests include the justice and equity aspects of climate change, gender and poverty targeting, the management of natural resources, the geo-political nature of climate justice and the psycho-social impacts of climate change. Tahseen is a qualified engineer and social scientist and has over two decades of research and development experience.
  • Sue Kearns, Deputy Director – Heat in Buildings, Scottish Government – Sue will focus on community energy in a domestic context, the opportunities going forward, and why it’s so important that communities get involved. Sue has held various policy posts within the Scottish Government in enterprise education, regional policy, and information technology. As a previous Head of Telecommunications Policy, she led on procurement which extended broadband coverage to rural and remote areas. Sue has worked in Energy Policy roles since 2006, notably driving development of policy and support on community and local energy where Scotland is now recognised as leading within the UK. As the Deputy Director, Heat in Buildings, Sue covers key areas of policy under Scotland’s energy transition, notably on Heat in Buildings, as well as responsibility for Scottish Government consumer policy.

Download the presentation for Local and Community energy: From global issues to local action.

11.30am – 12.15pm – Keynote speech by Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights.

Download the questions and answers put to Mr Harvie in the morning session.

12.15pm – 1.30pm – break

1.30pm – 2.30pm – How to session 1 (choose one session, see below)

2.30pm – 2.45pm – break

2.45pm – 3.45pm – How to session 2 (choose one session, see below)

3.45pm – 4pm – break

4pm – 5pm – CARES funding surgery.

Find out more about the support and funding available from CARES, speak directly to a development officer for more detailed information, and think about the next steps for climate action in your community.

5pm – Conference closes

‘How to’ sessions: 1.30pm – 2.30pm

1. How to promote your project

This session will look at a range of techniques you can use to promote your project and engage the wider community. Project promotion is key to success and is needed from the start of your project through to installation and implementation.

In this session we’ll hear from:

  • Calum Watkins, Director and Technical Lead at Glasgow Community Energy
  • Kirsty Lewin, Partnership Manager, Local Energy Scotland.

Calum will showcase successful community energy projects in Glasgow and provide helpful tips on how to share projects with communities through various media channels and delivering energy workshops.

Kirsty will tell the story of the InfraSisters cycling campaign. She will explain how she and other women developed and promoted the campaign using social and broadcast media, along with high profile mass cycle rides in Edinburgh. She will highlight actions from this campaign that could be used when promoting local renewable energy projects.

Download the presentation for How to promote your project.

2. How to work with contractors

Whether you’re installing a heat pump in a community building or constructing a community wind, solar or off-grid project, working well with contractors is essential. We’ll focus on how to be a good client and successfully manage and support your contractors.

In this session we’ll be joined by:

Kyle will discuss how to manage contractors from a community perspective. Kyle will also discuss the Knoydart project, its challenges and how these were addressed and overcome, opportunities and how to get the best outcomes, lessons learned, and tips for others.

Jamie will give a contractor’s experience of working with both community groups and private commercial clients, taking a look at what make a client and their project attractive to a contractor.

John will offer some top tips for project success for community groups looking to work with consultants, advisors, contractors, engineers and other professionals. This will be based on Locogen’s extensive experience working with over 100 community groups across the UK on energy projects.

Download the presentation for How to work with contractors.

3. How to decarbonise your community building

In this session communities that have completed projects will share details of how they approached their project and what they learned on the way.

In this session we’ll hear from:

Download the presentation for How to decarbonise your community building.

4. How to do shared ownership

In this session we’ll take an in-depth look at the shared ownership of Crossdykes Wind Farm. Hearing from both the community and the developer involved, we’ll find out more about the process they went through and the lessons they learned on their shared ownership journey.

In this session we’ll hear from:

Sarah will discuss the shared ownership process and how Muirhall ultimately delivered shared ownership at Crossdykes and will give a  round up on the next shared ownership schemes for Muirhall projects. Nicholas will discuss building confidence and trust between community and industry stakeholders. Andrew will look at the information required and considerations to make when structuring funding arrangements for shared ownership projects.

Download the presentation for How to do shared ownership.

‘How to’ sessions: 2.45pm – 3.45pm

1. How to bring more people with us

This session will look at how to involve more people in your community in your project. We’ll focus on community projects where people have worked to bring as many people as possible with them.

In this session we’ll hear from:

Naomi will tell us more about Score Scotland’s community fridge in Edinburgh which aims to reduce food waste; how it was set up, how it works and who it serves. She will also discuss the diversity of its volunteers and how this diversity not only encourages people from the community to use it but to volunteer too.

Nadia will tell us more about how both organisations make community-led projects more inclusive.

Download the presentation for How to bring more people with us.

2. How to apply for funding to decarbonise community buildings

Find out more about CARES support and funding for decarbonising community buildings and the key steps required to progress your project.

Download the presentation for How to apply for funding to decarbonise community buildings.

3. How to develop a local heat project

Find out more about the new community heat development programme and hear from the technical contractor that will be providing support.

In this session we’ll hear from:

Lisa will tell us more about Heat the Streets, its strategic objectives and the technology involved. She’ll talk about the project’s progress and learnings from work undertaken to date as well as future retrofit projects and the current stage of the market.

Scott Mackay, a Director for MSQ, will talk about the Midsteeple Quarter heat project, a high profile, impactful urban regeneration project. A community benefit society is breathing new life into Dumfries town centre by redeveloping empty high street properties to create a new neighbourhood with a mix of uses built upon principles of local prosperity and well being. Scott will talk about how they are working to incorporate low carbon heating into this development using the aquifer under Dumfries.

David Linsley Hood from Locogen will talk about the technical aspects of the Midsteeple Quarter heat project.

4. How to make an impact with community benefit funds

In this session we’ll explore ways in which communities can set up and operate community benefit fund arrangements to support climate smart community action that benefits people and planet.

In this session we’ll hear from:

  • Malcolm Jack, Community Funds Manager, Foundation Scotland
  • Bea Jefferson, Community Funds Advisor, Foundation Scotland

Foundation Scotland works alongside hundreds of Scottish communities to set up and run impactful Community Benefit Fund arrangements emerging from renewable energy schemes.

5. How to overcome the barriers of remoteness

Find out about the challenges of delivering projects in remote areas and how some communities have overcome these challenges.

In this session we’ll hear from:

  • Dr Sam Harrison, Executive Director, The Shieling Project
  • Alan Parker, Project Manager, Tobermory Scout Hall – (15th Argyll (1st Muileach) Scout Group.

Sam will offer a social enterprise’s perspective on installing solid biomass and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Sam will discuss the Shieling’s project, the challenges and opportunities of carrying out remote projects and how they addressed and overcame these challenges, as well as offering tips for others.

‘Renewables for Scouts’ is a community-led local energy project and is part of the rebuild project for Tobermory Scout Hall. The project, which has been supported by CARES, has faced several challenges along the way including delays with building warrants, the COVID-19 pandemic and increased costs of resources. The project has recently installed solar PV panels and are awaiting the installation of a storage battery.