Rural Community Energy Fund

Introduction

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) 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 and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

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 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 income to work in their local area;
  • 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 that are 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 for any amount up to a maximum of £40,000 to cover consultancy and other 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 for any amount up to £100,000 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 and permitting applications and developing a business plan.

For more information, please contact the relevant Local Energy Hub for your region, or please follow the link below to see a more detailed map of the area covered by the Greater South East Energy Hub.

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