Community-scale renewable energy projects are set to benefit from a funding boost from the Green Investment Bank (GIB), with up to £100 million on offer to clean energy projects.
The GIB has committed to providing up to £50 million of new investment to support community-scale renewable energy projects, through Albion CommunityPower (ACP). Strathclyde Pension Fund will also invest a further £10 million, whilst ACP is working to attract an additional £40 million from co-investors to take the total sum to £100 million.
The new finance will be used to fund up to 30 projects generating enough renewable energy to power 17,500 homes. The fund will be the largest single source of equity funding available for UK community-scale renewable energy projects.
The finance will provide equity funding of between £1 million and £10 million for a broad range of projects, including hydro-power, onshore wind on brownfield sites and biogas projects.
Business secretary Vince Cable commented, “Renewable energy is the future, and we must continue to use all of the new and established technologies at our disposal to power our homes and businesses in a way that doesn’t damage the environment.”
He added, “The Green Investment Bank is at the heart of our industrial strategy, creating sustainable jobs and growth.”
The first project to be announced from this new investment is a 2 megawatt run-of-river hydropower project, which uses natural river flow to generate energy, on the River Allt Coire Chaorach. The £8.5 million project will to be developed by Green Highland Renewables and will generate enough power to meet the needs of 1,900 homes.
According to the organisation, across the UK capacity exists for an additional 800 megawatt of new hydro-power projects, the equivalent of powering 500,000 homes, with around 80% of this capacity being in Scotland.
Richard Round, chief executive officer of Green Highland Renewables, noted that the involvement of the GIB underlines the potential for well-constructed hydro projects to “deliver stable returns to investors”.
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