NFU Scotland is reminding those looking at investment in renewable energy and hoping to make use of the Communities and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Loan Fund that applications close on 30 April 2011.
CARES, set up to help the development of renewable energy schemes in rural Scotland, is a low-risk loan fund that helps those looking at new renewable projects through the difficult pre-planning stage. Free local help and advice is also available to successful applicants and, to receive support, the renewable project must have a community element.
The Scottish Government announced improved access for farmers to the CARES fund, along with a £2.4 million funding boost, at NFU Scotland’s AGM in February.
NFU Scotland Policy Manager, Nicola Clayton said:
“While aware of the potential economic and environmental benefits to be gained from investment in renewables, farmers are often wary of pursuing such schemes because of the expense and time involved in reaching the pre-planning stage. CARES can address that but farmers need to note that the window for applying will shut soon.
“The CARES scheme will be open until March 2012 but the key date for those looking at new renewable projects is 30 April 2011, which is the deadline for applications.
“Any farmer considering a renewable project should look at what CARES has to offer. It is designed to de-risk the pre-planning stage of renewable energy projects by offering loans of up to £150,000 to cover up to 90 percent of the early costs which are repayable at a commercial rate should the scheme receive planning permission. Importantly, the loan is written off if the planning application fails.
“Costs could include environmental assessments, river flow analysis and deposits to connect to the national grid. There is also the question of access to Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) and the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive often required if a project is to be viable. In addition, funds through CARES are only available providing there is an element of community benefit to the project and there is some flexibility around how that may be achieved.
“More information on application is available from CARES. With so much to consider, the additional good news for successful applicants is that the CARES scheme also includes free support and advice at a local level.” Ends
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