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Funding news - 18/08/2017

Launch of £500,000 Rural Energy Challenge Fund (RECF) for SMEs in Scotland

The Rural Energy Challenge Fund (RECF) has been set up to stimulate activity in Scotland’s rural economy by unlocking potential for local energy projects with a strong focus on solutions suited to rural business and local economies.

The scheme will support proposals focusing on low carbon, renewables and whole system projects including, but not limited to, aspects of heat, electricity, transport, and energy management and ownership.

Funding is available for short term projects only from October 2017 to March 2018. The overall scheme budget for 2017-18 is £500,000. The maximum grant award available is £150,000; however, the funder expects most awards will be for considerably less.

Proposals can be projects or pilots of innovative approaches, but must include energy demand reduction and efficiency as a priority in terms of developing local, efficient energy systems. As such all applications will need to include a commitment to review what energy reduction and efficiency measures would optimise the proposed energy project. All projects must include a significant element of local ownership.

Rural businesses such as farmers, landowners, land managers, agricultural businesses, crofters and grazing committees in Scotland may apply. The business should be located in a rural area, where this is defined as settlements of fewer than 3,000 people. The project lead organisation should be a rural Scottish small or medium-sized enterprise with fewer than 250 employees.

Chris Morris, manager, Local Energy Scotland, said:

"This fund is an opportunity for businesses in rural areas of Scotland to develop proposals that will make a difference in the community that they live in.  Local Energy Scotland is available to support all potential applicants and we welcome early engagement to help develop projects." 

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said:

"The Rural Energy Challenge Fund is a great opportunity for farmers, land managers and small business owners to address some of the energy challenges they face. I’m sure we’ll see a positive response from them, with the development of some new and innovative solutions – with the support of the Scottish Government."

The final application deadline is midday on 20 September 2017.

See the programme website for more details.

Source:, 18/08/2017

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