Last week, I published a free Guide to new proposals on Shared Ownership. The guide, on what is increasingly becoming a “hot topic” in the renewables world has attracted a lot of interest. I hope you have had a chance to read it.
Yesterday, I attended the Scottish Renewables breakfast session (SR:AM) on Shared Ownership – From Aspiration to Income, and a big focus of the session was on what help is being provided through the Scottish Government. Increasing shared ownership of renewables projects is something which the Scottish Government really wants to happen.
Chris Morris of Local Energy Scotland outlined the help and assistance, both financial and advisory, available from CARES. In connection with Shared Ownership, amongst other help, CARES offer start-up grants of up to £20,000 (compared to £10,000 grants in the case of community ownership). One of the uses of the grant could be to help communities to form the necessary constitution required to participate in shared ownership schemes. The CARES loan (up to £150,000 with a write off facility) can be used for development costs and to buy into a project.
Since my Guide was published, CARES have announced two Consultation events on 13 May in Glasgow and 14 May in Inverness. I will be attending the Glasgow date, along with my colleague Sarah-Jane McCarthur. We’ll update you with a further blog after the 13th.
Andrew Smith of REIF (Renewable Energy Investment Fund) started by mentioning three projects where REIF have provided finance. Brodies were involved with 2 of the 3, highlighting our credentials in this area.
Andrew spent a fair amount of time discussing the new Local Energy Investment Fund (LEIF). As I mentioned in my Guide, this was launched in March of this year. This is a pilot programme with a fund of £10 million which is to be invested in the next eleven and a half months. The key driver behind the fund is to ensure that opportunities for investment by local communities are not missed. Developers deal directly with REIF, and then stakes in the project are offered to the community in due course. The idea is if the local community do not want to invest, the offer is made to another community. Andrew emphasised that as it is a pilot project, REIF effectively have a blank page to develop the product. REIF are actively talking to developers and funders about identifying projects and how investments can be made.
Andrew said the feedback from developers is that there is a willingness to be involved, but there are challenges in fitting in with the tight timescale to get the money out. LEIF are looking for a project pipeline of at least double what they want to achieve, and they are keen to get the message out to developers to contact them to discuss potential projects. Even if those projects do not fit in with the current timescale, LEIF are keen to have discussions, as if the pilot is a success, the scheme will continue.
In the Q&A situation, Keith Wilson of Santander made a comment which I think nicely sums up the position on renewables and shared ownership when he said that the future looked “more integrated and complicated”.
If there is anything you want to have a chat about, please send me an email or drop by our stand H41 at All Energy 2015. We will also be holding a drinks reception at our stand at 4pm on the first day of All-Energy so please do swing by.
On April 24, 2015