Rural Community Energy Fund

Introduction

The Rural Community Energy Fund is a £10 million programme that supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects with community benefit. It is being delivered by the five Local Energy Hubs in the North East, North West, Midlands, South West and South East on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Clean renewable energy generation at community level is beneficial both to the community and the wider environment. By reducing dependence on fossil fuel based energy generation communities can secure future energy supply, gain protection from rising fuel costs and duties and reduce the risk of fuel poverty. Income from renewable projects can be used to provide benefits to the community, create jobs, and promote social cohesion.

The Fund aims are to:

  • Support rural communities – by helping them to maximise the income-generating potential of renewable energy and put this to work locally;
  • Increase the uptake of community and locally owned renewable energy, to support the Government’s targets for renewable energy and carbon reduction; and
  • Promote rural growth, job creation and volunteering opportunities – to enable communities to access the economic benefits associated with renewable energy schemes.

RCEF offers support to eligible organisations in two stages:

Feasibility Grant

For projects at an early stage of exploring the possibility of a renewable energy project, and which meet the Fund’s eligibility criteria, this stage offers grants of up to a maximum of £40,000 to cover consultancy and professional costs for the development of a feasibility report in a standard format.

Development Grant

For projects that demonstrate a good chance of securing planning permission and being implemented, the Local Energy Hubs will consider further development funding of up to £100,000 to be made available to cover more detailed investigation into the key areas of technology selection. This includes securing a site (legal fees for example), environmental impact assessments, submitting planning applications, permitting applications and developing a full investment business plan.

Please contact the relevant Local Energy Hub for your area for more information. If you have any doubts over which LEP area you are in, please follow this link to see a map of LEP boundaries.

View map

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