BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable was due to visit the Edinburgh headquarters of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) today to kick-start a scheme to provide £60 million of funds for community-scale renewables projects across the UK.
The new finance will bankroll up to 30 schemes generating 24 megawatts of renewable energy – enough to provide power to about 17,500 homes.
The first to be announced today will be for a hydro-electric power scheme near Crianlarich, north of Loch Lomond, with the wider project being backed by GIB, the Strathclyde Pension Fund (SPF) and a private company, Albion Community Power.
GIB is to contribute £50m, with SPF another £10m. Albion Community Power, which builds, owns and runs renewable energy plants across the UK, is working to attract a further £40m from additional co-investors to take the total sum of investment to £100m. The maiden Crianlarich scheme will produce enough power for nearly 2,000 homes.
Cable is due to say that GIB is “at the heart” of the government’s industrial strategy. “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 will say.
The new finance is the biggest single source of equity funding available for UK community-scale renewable energy projects.
A range of renewable construction projects will benefit from the equity funding of between £1m and £10m, including river-generated hydro power, onshore wind on brownfield sites such as industrial estates, and bio-gas projects including landfill gas.
Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of the GIB, said: “The UK is transforming how it generates power. In future we will see less reliance on a small number of large power stations and more focus on a network of smaller, locally generated, renewable sources of power.”
Albion Community Power said it had identified a “substantial” pipeline of projects.
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