Communities across the country long to be able to switch to renewable and low carbon energy supplies. Support for renewables is at an all-time high. But it is hard to get going and work out how to prioritise your limited resources. The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a scheme devised by the Government to empower rural communities to do this by developing renewable energy projects in their area.
Access to the fund enables communities to maximise the income-generating potential of renewable energy and put it to work locally; to make progress against the Government’s target to increase renewable energy generation, and promote community-owned renewable schemes, and to promote rural growth and job creation.
What funding is available
The Fund has two stages: Stage 1 is a grant of up to £40k for an initial feasibility study; Stage 2 is a follow-on grant of up to £100k for business planning and development work. The Stage 1 grant covers consultancy and professional costs associated with the feasibility study. The Fund has quarterly application rounds. There is no obligation to progress to the Stage 2 grant, but this is a great way to accelerate your project to completion.
A Stage 1 grant would cover all costs associated with a renewable energy feasibility study for the applicant, requiring only minimal input from you. Indeed, part of the grant can be used to cover management costs, for example, paying a management overhead to oversee the delivery of the feasibility study. A Stage 2 grant can cover legal fees for securing access to land, developing a planning applicant, financial modelling, additional community consultation, and more.
Who is eligible for funding
RCEF was created for rural communities less than 10, 000 residents in size and planning a renewable energy project able to benefit the wider community using renewable energy technologies.
Avieco has worked with many communities across the country to develop viable energy projects of all shapes and sizes. We have lots of experience supporting community energy projects – including supporting groups to secure funding to pay for the development work needed for such schemes. If you are unsure if your community qualifies then please feel free to contact us.
How can your community benefit from the scheme
Working with Avieco to develop and deliver a grant-funded feasibility study will mean you have clarity on potential schemes, how they could be delivered and how they will benefit your community. Renewables projects can positively impact your community in several ways, including:
Deadlines & timings
Applications are reviewed quarterly. The RCEF administrators in your region are accepting applications for feasibility study grants now – contact Avieco to find out how to apply.
How we can help
Feasibility studies from Avieco, funded by RCEF, will give you a compelling case for viable renewables projects to benefit your community – at no cost to you. We’ve worked with RCEF fund administrators across the country and know what makes a strong RCEF funding application. We’ve completed multiple RCEF feasibility studies, and many of those communities have gone on to complete a variety of renewables projects.
As well as delivering RCEF-compliant feasibility studies, we can work with you to develop a strong application to the funders, and support you throughout the process. Our recent success stories include supporting Swaffham Prior in implementing UK's first "retrofit" heat network, identifying the best solution for onsite renewables for Cuxton Parish Council and supporting Saxon Weald in making the most of renewable energy systems.
Head over to our case studies to know more about our work.
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