Less than a week left to apply for grants for local community energy groups

There is less than one week left to apply for part of over £128K worth of loans are designed to help support local Community Energy projects within the West of England area.
The loans make up part of the Bristol Community Energy Loan Fund which supports small groups to help set up new clean energy projects around the city.
The fund has been made possible due to a grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is being managed by Bristol City Council’s Energy Service in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE).
The first round of the loan fund was opened for applications at the beginning of September and will close on 6 October 2017.
Cllr Fi Hance, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste and Regulatory Services, said: “This is a great opportunity for local groups to get a leg up to a point where they can support themselves.    We recognise that one of our city’s greatest strengths when it comes to our aim to become a clean energy city is down to the number of highly passionate and dedicated residents who often volunteer their time to work towards making Bristol a more sustainable place to live.
“We want to use this ring-fenced central government funding to enable more groups of local people to set themselves up to help their community become more sustainable for their future.   We believe that our residents are more than up for this challenge and want to support them to achieve bigger and better things.
“If you are passionate about energy and think you would be able to make a difference I encourage you to get organised and apply for a loan whilst there is still time.   Together let’s tackle this challenge head on.”
The loan is designed to help in the “development” stage of a clean energy project which means that it can be used to help with things like technical studies, planning applications, community engagement or financial planning costs.   This stage is often seen as the riskiest time for a new project and the loan will provide support through these initial stages before projects are ready to apply for other investment.
Groups can apply for any amount of funding within the total £128k available.   Any successful groups who are able to make a profit will be expected to pay back the loan with a 6% premium in order to cover the cost of any unsuccessful groups.   Projects that are not taken forward will not be expected to repay the loan.
Any group who successfully applies for a loan will be offered support in order to give them the best chance of success.
This year the Bristol Community Energy Grant Fund, has so far funded a total of five projects to the value of over £46k. A new round of the fund will be opening this winter.
These projects include the ReWork Project who received £16k across two rounds of grant funding, to carry out energy assessments and undertake improvement works on over 50 homes in Knowle West. The home improvements included insulation, draught proofing and other measures to help local residents to reduce their energy bills and live in warmer homes. The project also offered switching advice, energy saving tips and water saving kits to people in the community.
Debbie from Knowle said: “Having some draught-proofing work done on my house has made my home warmer and the energy-efficient light bulbs that I was given will save me money. This has proved to be a great improvement for me and my family. The water kit that was sent through from Bristol Water was very useful and was. Another money and water saving device we didn’t know were available. ReWork gave me lots of useful information to save energy.”
More grant funding will be available to communities in the coming months. A full list of the projects and communities that have benefitted from Bristol Community Energy Fund can be found at: www.bristolcommunityenergy.co.uk  
For more information on the scheme and to apply for a grant, head to: www.bristolcommunityenergy.co.uk

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