How to save energy in your community

A wind turbine set against a mountain backdrop, at sunset

Taking action with your community to share the cost of generating your own power is a great way to reduce emissions from buildings and save money.

Saving energy and money together

In shared spaces, installing more energy efficient measures could cut the cost of running local community venues. Improved insulation and renewable heat and electricity measures will allow for local communities to reduce carbon emissions, create local jobs, upskill local people, reduce energy costs, and overall allow greater investment in local economies.

Scottish Government funded Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) has various funding options to help communities access renewable energy. Through grant and loan funding, CARES is available to support communities and eligible organisations to develop these projects.

This includes feasibility studies, project design, and consenting of new renewable or innovation projects. You can access enablement grant funding of up to £25,000 to fund the non-capital aspects of these projects. This could include start-up costs of feasibility studies, community consultations, and other preparatory costs.

 

Types of community energy generation projects

Solar panels

The roofs of public buildings, like schools or sports clubs, could be the perfect place to install solar panels to generate electricity for your community to use.

Biomass technology

A biomass boiler could heat large spaces in your community more efficiently, like your schools and community centres.

Community wind turbines

Do you have an exposed hilltop nearby that could be used to generate electricity with a wind turbine? Just one turbine could help to massively reduce energy bills for your community.

Hydro community project

If there is a good hydro resource, like a river, near to your community, you could come together to develop a hydropower system to generate electricity.

The exterior of a town hall in Scotland.

Funding available for community energy projects

If you’re keen on saving energy or generating your own in your community, plenty of help is available:

  • Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is delivered by Local Energy Scotland (LES). Locally based CARES Development Officers can help communities assess their priorities for net zero activity, including potential opportunities for heat decarbonisation, energy efficiency and energy generation, in order to develop credible plans for action. Development officers are contactable through their website, or at 0808 808 2288.
  • Every year the Big Lottery Fund gives millions of pounds to good causes, like community environment projects.
  • Trusts and foundations are available to support community-led climate projects, read more about these Scotland-wide organisations to access this support.
  • Community foundations can access funding to deliver energy efficient projects, but it can be hard to know where to start. The first step is to get in touch with your Communities Officer, who can point you in the right direction.
  • Energy suppliers and local authorities can provide grants to improve your community's energy efficiency, from boiler grants to loft and cavity wall insulation, as part of their energy efficiency obligations to people in certain groups.