The Energy Saving Trust will lead the Scottish pilot which aims to evolve the support for community energy to move from a focus on electricity generation supported by subsidies to a more whole system approach where communities’ energy generation, energy efficiency, heat, storage and future usage needs are considered together.
The pilot will develop energy plans for 4 local areas in the Highland and Islands facing different local energy challenges. The plans will bring together the best data on energy supply and use to develop a coordinated area based approach and enable communities to have their voices heard in the processes by which energy projects are planned within their local areas.
Select recommendations from the energy plans will be implemented with the lessons learned being used to develop a common process and methodology for how local energy planning should be carried out at the sub local authority level.
In addition to communities this project will be developed in close cooperation with key national and regional planning/energy policy officials throughout including the district network operator, transport officials and representatives from Scotland’s energy efficiency programme.
Additional resources such as local energy planning templates, business models and IT toolkits will be produced by The Energy Saving Trust to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to facilitate the normalization of the local energy planning approach across the Highland and Islands region
4 communities in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland will benefit directly from this pilot. The impact of the local energy plans will be measured in terms of economic, social, direct, indirect and strategic benefits.
This pilot has been integrated within the Scottish Government’s flagship CARES (Community and Renewable Energy Scotland) scheme which was established by the Government to support the delivery of local and community owned renewable energy projects in Scotland. The pilot will be a key first step towards the realization of the government’s vision for there to be local energy plans for every area in Scotland by 2050.