Funding available to develop renewable energy generation projects in Humber region

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a Government initiative to support rural communities seeking to develop feasibility work for renewable energy projects.
The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a Government initiative to support rural communities seeking to develop feasibility work for renewable energy projects.

Rural groups in the Humber who are looking to develop greener ways to provide energy for their communities could benefit from thousands of pounds of funding to help develop their projects.

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a Government initiative to support rural communities seeking to develop feasibility work for renewable energy projects. Across the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, around £1.46m is available for suitable projects in total.

The funding is available to community groups such as parish councils, charities or legally constituted local groups, as long as they are based within a rural area (usually defined as a population of less than 10,000) and are enthusiastic and committed to developing a project which could deliver huge benefits to their community.

Examples of the kind of projects that will be considered include the likes of solar power, wind turbines, anaerobic digestion, heat pumps or hydropower. The project is required to actually deliver renewable energy, generally for more than one building, and typically be of the size that would require planning permission. Projects solely focused on energy efficiency aren’t eligible for this funding.

The Humber LEP has already written to ward councillors in rural parish councils to make sure they are aware this funding is available, but we want to engage with other groups across the region’s rural communities to ensure they know this funding is available.

Richard Royal, Energy Programme Manager at the Humber LEP, said: “Often rural communities have higher emissions than assumed due to many buildings being off-grid and using alternative high-carbon fuels, and often being less well insulated and efficient, as well as individuals being more reliant on private transport. If we’re going to lower our emissions as a region, it is vital that we look at how best we can tackle this through a range of projects and funding pots.

“Promoting renewable energy and supporting the decarbonisation of rural communities across the region are central aspirations of the Humber’s Energy Strategy and we hope that local groups will take advantage of this opportunity.”

At the first stage, grants of up to £40,000 can be applied for to fund work with an environmental consultant to conduct feasibility studies for the project and assess its longer term viability. If the project is deemed viable, further grants are available to support activity such as designing the scheme and applying for planning permission. However, capital funding for the project will need to be sought through other means, and there are several tried-and-tested models which applicants can get further advice on.

Mr Royal adds: “At Humber LEP, we are happy to help support applications for RCEF from community groups from across the Humber. Please do contact us if you are interested in applying for this funding and if you require any support to do so.”

For more information, please contact Richard Royal at the Humber LEP via email at r.royal@humberlep.org or call 01482 485270.

[Charis Scott-Holm – Humber LEP]