Development of renewable energy schemes in rural Scotland has been boosted by £2.4m of funding from the Scottish Government.
The money will go into the government’s existing Communities and Renewable Energy Scheme Loan Fund, which, from April, will be opened up to farmers and land managers for the first time.
The fund requires applicants to form partnerships with local communities to share revenue and 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% of the early costs.
The loan is repayable at a commercial rate should the scheme receive planning permission, but written off if the application fails. It is in addition to the Feed-in Tariff and the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive.
Early costs could include environmental assessments, river flow analysis and deposits to connect to the national grid.
“Renewable energy generation at a local level has the potential to be a real money spinner,” Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said.
“However, I am told repeatedly by farmers that, while aware of the benefits to be obtained from renewables, they are put off pursuing schemes because of the expense of reaching the pre-planning stage. I’m therefore delighted to announce major new funding for renewables in rural Scotland.