There is a wide range of support available to communities looking to develop a renewable energy project.
If you need support in setting up a community group and advice on the range of organisational structures, you can get more information from our Social Enterprise Topic Sheet.
Grants can enable community organisations to establish the feasibility of their renewable energy project or to purchase pieces of equipment. There are a number of grant providers that can assist with developing and implementing a renewable energy project and there are organisations that can help your community to develop its project.
Projects which are going to be connected to the grid will usually require permission from the party responsible for the network, this will usually be Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). In a number of areas of Argyll and Bute grid capacity is constrained, it is important to establish whether you can get a grid connection early in the development process.
Legal advice is usually required for more complex renewable energy projects when there is a requirement for setting up new companies, reviewing financial contracts or joint venture organisations. The majority of grant and loan funding will pay for associated legal fees but a limited amount of free professional legal advice for renewable energy projects can be accessed if groups are members of umbrella organisations.
The majority of community renewable energy projects will require planning permission. In some areas of Argyll and Bute, planning policy may influence the type of project you look to develop but you can get early, informal advice from your local planning authority so that you know the best way to proceed.
Training and capacity building
It can be difficult for some communities to progress renewable energy project because of the skills required however there are a number of agencies which can provide advice, training and guidance so that you can move forward.
Community plans can help to identify what issues are important to the local community. They can help to establish whether there is an appetite for developing a renewables project locally and also what any resulting revenue might be spent on in the longer term.