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Caithness News Bulletins August 2004

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Highland Council Wind Farms    


The Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have produced a new version of their Community Toolkit that highlights opportunities for Highland communities to benefit from the production and use of renewable energy, which is energy generated from any source that can be continually replaced, such as wind, water, timber and even waste.

Entitled “Can Your Community Benefit from Renewable Energy Development?” the toolkit will be circulated to Community Councils and placed on the websites of the Council and HIE.

The internet version of the toolkit will be updated with current information as the community renewables sector develops. Many communities are already involved in renewable energy initiatives and are invited to contribute additional information to the toolkit, via these websites, as appropriate at www.highland.gov.uk  under “What’s New” and www.hie.co.uk.

Government incentives to increase renewable energy production have created an unprecedented level of interest in commercial renewable energy development in the Highlands but there are also significant opportunities for communities and even households to develop their own small-scale renewable energy projects.

It is hoped that the toolkit will increase knowledge and capacity within communities to respond to renewable energy opportunities. The toolkit demonstrates how communities can develop their own schemes, illustrating recent community projects and providing information on grant aid and support.  It also presents options for securing and distributing community benefit funding from commercial development, including a community benefit “roadmap” for use by Community councils and community groups, which signposts sources of help backed up by a series of guidance notes or “Tools”.

Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Sustainable Development Select Committee, said: “There is the potential for significant additional renewable developments in the Highlands – across a range of new and existing technologies. This can undoubtedly have a major impact on our Communities and it is essential they are well placed to both fully understand and influence the nature of these developments.

“I believe this Toolkit will go along way to help achieve this and I’m particularly pleased that it had been produced in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Community Energy Unit. The Highland Council is committed to ensuring Highland communities gain long-term, tangible benefits from any renewable development and will continue to work with developers, communities and other partners to help fully realise this.”

Eric Dodd, Highlands and Islands Enterprise Community Energy Unit said: “HIE’s locally-based advisers are currently working with more than 100 communities who are either already benefiting from running their own renewable energy projects or laying plans to do so.  The new toolkit lays out the essential facts to make it easier for more communities to learn about the issues involved.  Hopefully, it will also inspire more people to come forward with new projects which could benefit their communities.”