The Department for Energy and Climate Change announced on 7th December a £30 million boost in funding for public sector and community energy efficiency projects.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne stated that £10 million would be distributed through the Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF), and £20 million through the existing public sector Salix loans scheme.
The new £10m LEAF scheme will be managed by the Energy Saving Trust and community groups such as parish councils, voluntary associations, development trusts and faith groups are being invited to apply for funding awards worth around £50,000. Up to 200 such groups stand to benefit from the scheme.
The funding will be awarded in two phases with the first application period running from today until noon on 22 December and the second round running until noon on 20 January 2012. All successful projects will be notified by the end of January.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) told BusinessGreen that the £50,000 of funding could be used by community groups to deploy small scale renewable energy technologies or undertake feasibility studies and prototype deployments to lay the ground work for larger projects.
This scheme comes amid criticism that the government’s drastic slashing of the feed-in tariffs of over 50 per cent has led to the cancellation of a number of community energy projects using solar installations.
The spokeswoman told BusinessGreen that the department was consulting on how to better support community scale renewable energy projects as part of the review of feed-in tariff incentives. But she maintained some projects will be able to proceed even if deep cuts to incentives are imposed.
In addition to LEAF, the government has allocated a further £20m of funding for the Salix loan scheme. Salix loans are provided for energy efficiency projects that pay for themselves within five years through lower energy bills. Repayments are made from the money saved on bills, and once the loan has been repaid the organisation will continue to benefit from the low carbon equipment and the savings it delivers. To date, the scheme has funded over 7000 projects across Great Britain.