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Scottish housing providers awarded £3m to fight fuel poverty

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Scottish housing providers awarded £3m to fight fuel poverty

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Environment and also in Central Government, Development, Finance, Housing

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Twenty-five housing provider projects have received almost £3 million over the past year towards green projects to reduce fuel poverty.

Aimed at local authorities and housing associations, the Scottish government’s warm homes fund provides grants and loans to help with the installation of renewable energy measures.

Projects funded range from a biomass district heating scheme to heat 75 new-build housing association properties in Dunbeg – to fitting solar PV panels to sheltered housing developments in Tomintoul, Braemar, Insch, Ballater and Echt.

In addition, a Cambuslang-based housing co-operative has received a £1.5m loan towards a £7.5m scheme which will see 543 homes connected to a renewable biomass boiler through a district heating system.

The warm homes fund was set up by the Scottish government to provide loan and grant funding for renewable energy projects to support communities in fuel poverty. Projects must demonstrate they will reduce fuel poverty within a community either directly through provision of affordable warmth, or indirectly through investing the proceeds of renewable energy generation in the upgrading of existing housing stock.

Organisations can borrow up to £5m per project as an unsecured loan at competitive rates of interest; £10,000 grants are available towards feasibility studies while £20,000 is available towards producing strategy work.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Rising heating bills are a real concern for households across Scotland and the warm homes fund is a key part of what the Scottish government is doing to help.

“It is making a real difference to tenants of housing associations and councils, by helping their landlords develop renewable energy projects which cut energy bills this winter and for years ahead.

“Innovative green energy schemes like this can help households to heat their homes more cost effectively."

The £50m fund is available until March 2015.

David Stewart, policy manager at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said: “We welcome the warm homes fund as a potential source of (loan) funding to support renewables projects that can help address fuel poverty by providing finance to meet the capital costs of investing in renewable energy projects.”

The 25 projects that have so far received funding are:

Capital (three projects)
• West Whitlawburn Housing Co-operative. £1.5M loan. Biomass/gas hybrid district heating system to provide affordable warmth in 543 households in Cambuslang.
• Castlehill HA. £500,000 loan to provide solar PV and biomass district heating in six sheltered housing complexes across Grampian.
• West Highland Housing Association. £400,000 loan. Biomass district heating to provide affordable warmth for 75 new build households in Dunbeg near Oban.

Development (22 projects) – £348K grant funding in total
• Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire (3): three grants to Grampian Housing Association: wind turbine strategy; stock appraisal strategy; energy services strategy.
• West Lothian (1): one grant to West Lothian Council – biomass district heating feasibility study.
• Edinburgh (3): one grant to Edinburgh City Council for a multi-storey strategy; one to Castle Rock HA for an energy services strategy; one to Trust HA for an energy services strategy.
• Fife (2): one grant to Fife Council for a biomass district heating feasibility study; one to Kingdom HA for an energy services strategy.
• Highlands (3): one grant to Albyn HA for biomass district heating; one grant to Lochalsh and Skye HA for a biomass district heating feasibility study and one grant to Highland Council for a wind turbine strategy.
• Argyll (1): one grant to West Highland HA for an energy services strategy.
• South Lanarkshire (1): one grant to South Lanarkshire Council for a multi-storey strategy.
• North Lanarkshire Council (1): one grant to Clyde Valley HA for an energy services strategy.
• Borders (2): two grants to Berwickshire HA for a hydro feasibility study and an energy services strategy.
• Renfrewshire (5): five grants to Renfrewshire Council: two hydro feasibility studies; one hydro strategy; one district rural heating strategy and one biomass urban/semi urban strategy.

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