Narec Distributed Energy have been working with local community charities and trusts on energy efficiency / renewable energy projects for some time. There are a range of funds out there to help organisations access the technical expertise required to assess the potential for renewables, of which the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) and Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) are the latest. From information we have from the providers, we have out together some information and links to help you and your group find out more.
What are the funds about?
Launched in November 2014, the Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) has been set up to complement the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) – ensuring that every community in England can access funding support for renewable energy projects.
The two funds were established separately and on different timescales because they are funded differently:
- UCEF was launched in November 2014 with government funding through the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and is administered by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and Pure Leapfrog
- RCEF was launched in June 2013 with funding through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and the Department of Energy and Climate Change and is administered by WRAP.
Are we urban or rural?
Simply put, the rules are that:
- Urban areas are defined as settlements with more than 10,000 people which do not lie within a predominantly rural local authority area.
- Rural areas are defined as situated in a predominantly rural local authority area and within a settlement of less than 10,000 people.
- Urban areas that may be eligible for the RCEF scheme are defined as settlements with more than 10,000 people that lie within a predominantly rural local authority.
What help is available with the UCEF?
The Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) is a £10m fund to kick-start renewable energy generation projects in urban communities across England. Community groups will be able to access grants and loans to support renewable energy developments.
Grants of up to £20,000 are available for the more speculative, early stages of your project’s development, such as public consultation and preliminary viability studies.
UCEF will also provide loans of up to £130,000 to develop planning applications and a robust business case to attract further investment. This will help your project become ‘investment ready’, that is, at the right stage to secure a bank loan or another form of investment.
Who can apply?
Any of the following groups are eligible to apply for the fund:
- Registered Company (including CICs)
- Charitable Incorporated Organisation
- Registered Societies (formerly known as IPS)
- Parish and Town Councils
Your community group will need to be incorporated to apply to UCEF. This helps to protect both your group as individuals and your group’s project (and therefore UCEF’s investment). Incorporation is relatively simple, and can be quick and inexpensive.
What technologies are eligible?
The technologies that will be considered under UCEF include the following:
- wind turbines
- solar thermal
- ground, water and air source heat pumps
- anaerobic digestion
- low carbon/renewable heat networks
- gas combined heat and power (CHP) units
If you would like to find out more about the schemes and how Narec Distributed Energy can help with your application and project, contact our community energy lead on 07572 531716 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org