Over £500,000 have been assigned to small-scale renewable energy projects as part of a cross-departmental initiative in rural areas.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change, (DECC) and Defra have set up a £15m Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), which is managed by WRAP.
It will support community scale anaerobic digestion, solar power, hydro and wind as well as renewable and low carbon heat networks.
Thirty projects have now received up to £150,000 for feasibility and pre-planning to allow their developments to become “investment ready”, said WRAP.
“I want to see more communities becoming producers of energy – powering schools, market towns and community centres sustainably – and boosting their economy at the same time,” said energy and climate change minister Greg Barker.
Resource minister Dan Rogerson said the fund will allow communities to “unlock the potential” of renewable energy. “Since launching we’ve seen a wide range of projects given the green light and I urge more people to apply and make the most of this opportunity to get their local project off the ground,” he added.
The RCEF provides support in two stages: the first is a grant of up to £20,000 for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project. The second is an unsecured loan of up to £130,000 to support planning applications and to develop a business case to attract further investment.
WRAP said more projects are currently going through the assessment process.