Research Published on Shared Ownership

We are pleased to share a report published in January 2015 by ClimateExchange, entitled "Supporting Community Investment in Commercial Energy Schemes". This report is available at:

http://www.climatexchange.org.uk/reducing-emissions/supporting-community-investment-commercial-energy-schemes/

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We agree with all the recommendations from the report. While Local Energy Scotland has developed an initial suite of CARES resources to support communities and developers to deliver shared ownership projects, we recognise that further steps are needed. As the industry develops, our resources and materials will be accordingly developed and expanded. Local Energy Scotland works closely with community groups and developers across Scotland to ensure knowledge-sharing and dissemination of experiences where possible. We recognise the need to increase awareness of the potential opportunities for shared ownership, and will explore the best mechanism to do so.

 The development of further guidance and support materials to facilitate community investment, tailored for both communities and developers, and reflecting the different needs of these groups

Local Energy Scotland is developing Shared Ownership Good Practice Principles to include guidance for developers, communities and local authorities. LES also regularly updates the CARES toolkit to build on information and will expand and amend the relevant shared ownership sections as the sector matures and further experience and case studies become available.

 

The development of opportunities for sharing experiences and building contacts through networking events or activities which connect a range of stakeholders and enable mutual learning and mentoring schemes.

Regular events are planned for 2015. The Parliamentary event on the 28th January will have some focus on shared ownership, as will the CARES Conference in March. Some smaller shared ownership events are intended to be carried out this year (outside of the central belt).

 

The appointment of independent project managers (not connected to a developer or community), as well as named contacts within organisations, would facilitate communication and project momentum.

 The Principles will include this as a point of good practice. Local Energy Scotland has procured and developed a framework of contractors including legal, financial and project management services. The CARES Project Manager framework (launched last week) is a strong step forward in streamlining this process for communities.

 

Improved access to start-up finance for communities, as well as clear guidance on how and where it can be accessed.

CARES resources include the Start-up grant, which has been increased to £20,000 and is flexible for communities looking into shared ownership, and will be promoted through the Good Practice Principles. Full application information is available on the Local Energy Scotland website, along with information on how to apply for CARES loans. The grant is intended to be used alongside the framework contractors and together will help communities to act quickly and efficiently in the early stages of project development. Further marketing and publicity will be explored during 2015.

 

Clarification over the definition of ‘communities’ in this context, and the implications for both community investment and broader public engagement with the energy sector.

A glossary is to be developed as a priority and will be part of the Good Practice Principles.

 

These recommendations are designed to overcome the key challenges, which are identified as:

• The ability to invest, and lack of available finance

• Locating and accessing information, knowledge and skills

• Targeted advice and support

• Lack of trust

• Timing and the building of relationships

• Community cohesion – knowing with whom to engage and how

 

These are being addressed through CARES resources including:

  • Partnership Portal
  • Networking events
  • Development Officers
  • Strengthening links with DTA Scotland
  • Online resources
  • Forthcoming Good Practice Principles

Local Energy Scotland works closely with community groups and developers across Scotland to ensure knowledge-sharing and dissemination of experiences where possible