Rural Community Energy Fund
Nottingham City Council
SWM have been on the board of the Midlands Energy Hub since it’s establishment in 2018. The Midlands Energy Hub serves the nine LEPs and their member local authorities across the Midlands. Working in partnership with the UK Government through BEIS, the Midlands Energy Hub is supporting the delivery of a carbon neutral Britain at a local and regional level. To deliver the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), BEIS have allocated £1.8 million to fund rural, community-led energy projects across the Midlands region. The Midlands Energy Hub board oversee the delivery of the grant funding to rural community groups.
RCEF provides support to rural communities in two stages:
- Stage 1: grants of up to £40,000 for a feasibility study for a renewable energy project
- Stage 2: grants of up to £100,000 for business development and planning of feasible schemes
Through SWM’s role on the Midlands Energy Hub we provide independent, expert advice on each application for funding.
The fund covers the high-risk costs of projects, facilitating the development of feasible projects giving local communities the confidence to finance and deliver beneficial renewable and low-carbon energy projects. RCEF aims to:
- Support rural communities by helping them to maximise the income generating potential of renewable energy and putting 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
- Promote rural growth, job creation and volunteering opportunities to enable communities to access the economic benefits associated with renewable energy schemes
The Midlands Energy Hub review applications on a quarterly basis and to date have reviewed more than 30 applications involving over 130 community groups. Projects include those looking at the feasibility of biomass, solar PV and thermal, electric vehicles, anaerobic digestion, and hydro power.
“SWM’s contribution to the Midlands Energy Hub Board that reviews applications to the Rural Community Energy Fund is invaluable. Their experience in the low-carbon and renewable energy sector means they bring specialist, impartial insight to the decisions being made on awarding grants to rural community groups that are looking to develop low-carbon and renewable energy projects. They have also been great ambassadors of the programme, promoting it through their networks.” Michael Gallagher, Regional Energy Projects Manager, Midlands Energy Hub (2020)