To successfully deliver a larger renewable energy project your group will require a range of skills including financial, technical, engineering, planning, environmental, project management, communication and governance. It can be difficult to find volunteers who are appropriately skilled and willing to give up their time. There are several ways to overcome this barrier:
- Recruiting more volunteers
- Ask volunteers to undertake training
- Identify knowledge sharing opportunities
- Co-opting specialists and using existing advice agencies
- Employing consultants or specialist staff
There are several different organisations that can assist:
Argyll and Bute Council have run the following seminars, the presentations from which can still be accessed:
- 2014 - Achieving Impact with Community Benefit Funds
- 2015 - Understanding Community Renewables and Shared Ownership Opportunities
The Community Development team can provide you with advice and guidance in relation to developing a community plan and carrying out consultation with the local community. They have tools and equipment which you can borrow to make this easier.
The Social Enterprise team can provide advice and guidance on setting up a group to develop a renewable energy project as well as sources of grants and funding. They produce a range of topic sheets including one on renewables which will provide initial guidance on considering a renewable energy project.
Local Energy Scotland can provide free advice and support to help communities and rural businesses develop renewable energy schemes. The CARES Toolkit provides advice on project development and financial issues as well as downloadable tools which will help you progress your project. Local Energy Scotland also host a number of events including workshops which may assist you in developing your project.
ALI Energy can offer advice and support to groups looking to develop renewable energy schemes, they also offer training courses.
Community Energy Scotland provides free and impartial advice to community organisations. Members can access a network of similar groups and learn from their experiences.
Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS) offer an annual programme of training and events.
The Energy Saving Trust provides links to organisations which can provide advice and training courses.
SMILEGOV, via the Scottish Islands Federation, could assist in providing renewable energy training for island communities.
Established charities and social enterprises with aspirations to grow may be able to get support through Pilotlight which matches charities with business leaders to make both more effective.
Annual conferences such as All Energy can provide useful information.
Local Energy Scotland Events - various events supporting those developing renewables
Scottish Renewables Events - conferences focusing on the renewables industry
All Energy - annual renewable energy conference and exhibition
You may be able to learn from case studies of groups which have already developed a similar renewable energy project. In Argyll and Bute groups include:
- Isle of Gigha - Small wind farm
- Isle of Tiree - Single wind turbine
- Ardrishaig, Mid Argyll - 1/12 share in a commercial wind farm
- Lochgilphead, Mid Argyll - Biomass boiler
- Strachur, Cowal - Biomass boiler
- Isle of Easdale - Roof mounted solar
- Ardfern, Mid Argyll - ground source heat pump
- Isle of Islay - Single wind turbine
- Cairndow, Cowal - Run of river hydro
- Isle of Mull - Run of river hydro
- Further case studies are available from Local Energy Scotland, Community Energy Scotland and from the Community Power and Friends of the Earth Report Community Power Scotland.
The Green Homes Network enables you to visit renewable installations and speak to people who are using the renewable technology you are considering, you can search online for nearby premises.