Using the past to help shape our future

Using the past to help shape our future

A new scheme designed to change the way consumers receive energy efficiency services whilst at the same time increase efforts to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland is to be launched in September and funded by the Scottish Government.

The project will install insulation, heating, and low carbon or renewable measures into households identified as living in fuel poverty. Also a wider range of options will be available to those homes that are not on the main gas grid including solar and biomass systems.

The scheme will take Scottish consumers through different projects from inception to completion all with the purpose of making their homes warmer and more comfortable. It will also bring financial benefits to the customers by helping reduce bills as well as reducing CO2 output levels in Scotland and improve its housing stock.

The overall scheme named Warmworks Scotland will be run as a joint venture involving three separate organisations and will ensure support is available on a national level to all those that require it. Changeworks, the Energy Saving Trust and Everwarm, part of the Lakehouse Plc, will join forces to provide full support and assistance on all related matters from insulation and heating to micro generation measures and will target lower-income families.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme Energy Saving Trust Director of Government Services, Mike Thornton said: “This will give people living in fuel poverty really practical support. The initiative provides a more integrated step-by-step service to customers, from the initial referral through to the installation and beyond.

“Each customer will receive their own personal adviser and be supported through any complex issue or challenge they may face. This project will continue to help improve the lives of people in Scotland by making their homes warmer and more comfortable.”

Changeworks Chief Executive Teresa Bray said: “We believe the successful approach for a fuel poverty project of this scale demands an alternative delivery model. We’ve bonded the skills and expertise of two leading social enterprises with the private sector to deliver a high quality public service to tackle fuel poverty.

“This delivery model offers new opportunities to provide effective and efficient services to help struggling households in rural and urban Scotland.”

Managing Director at Everwarm, Michael McMahon said: “This partnership brings together stable funding, the strongest policy expertise and on-the-ground practical support to take a new approach to energy efficiency.

“We have a successful track record of designing and installing a range of energy efficiency measures and experience of delivering on a national scale. Over the next five years, we will be harnessing major Government investment to install improvements in thousands of homes in Scotland. This is an important step in addressing fuel poverty and helping residents understand the opportunities of energy efficiency and access support.”

Scottish Government Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “This new scheme will give vulnerable households living in fuel poverty access to even more measures to make their homes energy efficient. These will be tailored to meet their needs to stop them from paying unnecessarily high fuel bills.

“By making sure people in the islands and in more rural parts of the country, have the same chances to make their homes, warmer, cheaper and easier to heat, we are tackling the inequalities that exist in our country.

“It will provide vulnerable people or those on low incomes, with heating or insulation measures, and will help thousands of Scots across the country have homes that are easier and cheaper to heat. The wider community will also benefit from the Warmworks Scotland contract as it will offer vocational training and employment opportunities.

“Since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds to make Scotland’s homes more energy efficient with over 700,000 households benefitting from measures like new boilers or insulation, and this new scheme – alongside our other Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland – will build on this over the next seven years.”

28,000 households currently in fuel poverty are expected to benefit via this new scheme making their homes easier and less expensive to heat.

In other Scottish renewables news a Victorian hydro scheme which once provided power at Mar Lodge in the Cairngorms National Park, at the time home of Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter HRH Princess Louise Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife, is set to be rebuilt and provide electricity once again, this time for the local community of Braemar.

The instillation on the Corriemulzie burn is subject to a community benefit scheme, set up to raise funds for the project. Within ten days of the scheme being launched the share offer of £150,000 was fully subscribed with just fewer than fifty investors with connections to the local area sponsoring the project.

Speaking at the announcement Braemar Community Hydro Director Al Hubbard said “It’s been a long haul to get to this stage. Braemar Community Ltd first started monitoring flow on the burn seven years ago. Once we were confident the scheme was viable there were many challenges to be overcome.

“Now, terms for the lease has been agreed with Mar Estate, planning permission and a Licence from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency are in place, we have a grid connection offer from Scottish and Southern Energy and Braemar Community Hydro has been set up.

“The Pioneer share offer was launched in the village at the end of March and we were overwhelmed by the support from the community.  There was real enthusiasm for such an unobtrusive renewable scheme with such an interesting pedigree.

“It’s overgrown now but in Victorian times, as well as generating power, the Linn of Corriemulzie was a favourite beauty spot. The Pioneer offer will fund the design of the new scheme, the turbine deposit and the grid connection and a further share offer will be launched in May.”

The main share offer which will be launched next month will be open to everyone and aims to raise a further £650,000. Braemar Community Hydro aim to begin installation this autumn and to be generating electricity by the late summer of 2016.

This project is the type we appreciate greatly here at ILI Energy. The area in which it is situated is one of scenic beauty and therefore unsuitable for wind turbines. However it proves that renewable energy solutions can be found in many guises, old and new, if we look hard enough to find them. The commitment and dedication shown by both the developer and local community has created a success story we can all aspire to.

As the need for clean renewable energy continues to grow and space for the more traditional methods of generating it dwindles more leftfield ideas like this will be required in order for us to increase and maintain our output. With the community benefit aspect the local population can benefit with both clean locally produced electricity and a potential return should they choose to invest. And all with an advancement on technology used for the same purpose almost 100 years ago.


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