This module has been developed to provide support to community groups looking to invest in a renewable project that is being developed by a commercial developer. The module outlines the different factors that need to be considered when making an investment decision and how to obtain the relevant support when making these investment decisions.
Starting with only a few projects in the 1990s and early 2000s in Scotland, community and locally owned renewable projects have grown exponentially (reference: What makes local energy projects acceptable? Probing the connection between ownership structures and community acceptance).
The growth of community energy in Scotland has primarily focused in the Highlands and Islands, associated with the community empowerment movement, land reform legislation, and the communal decision-making preserved in the crofting system. However, it has spread across Scotland, reaching communities from the borders to Shetland.
More recently, increasing concerns regarding climate change coupled with rising energy demand led the Scottish Government to aim to generate 50% of Scotland’s overall energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030, and to have decarbonised its energy system almost completely by 2050. In order to help communities afford to participate in their goals for net zero, the government established the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). CARES is delivered by Local Energy Scotland and provides financial support and advice to community groups.
With the continued aim to empower communities, the Scottish Government believes that communities can contribute to this target by delivering at least 2 GW by 2030. The Scottish Government envisions that shared ownership of renewable energy projects will play an important role in achieving this aim (Good practice principles for Shared Ownership).