Four areas to develop local energy plans

Four areas have been selected to take part in a pilot project to develop local energy plans in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise region as part of the Community Benefits of Civic Energy (COBEN) Project. COBEN Local Energy Plan Map

The selected areas - Brae (Shetland Islands), Drumnadrochit (Inverness), Barra and Vatersay (Western Isles) and Oban (Argyll) - reflect the range in sizes, locations, attributes and challenges that communities have across the Highlands and Islands. 

The COBEN project aims to evolve support for community energy to move from a focus of electricity generation supported by subsidies to a more whole system approach where communities’ energy generation, energy efficiency, heat, transport, storage and future usage needs are considered together.

The areas will now develop local energy plans which will set out key priorities and opportunities, taking into account the views and priorities of a range of stakeholders, including communities and businesses, the local authority, the Distribution Network Operator and local generators. 

The plans will make recommendations and suggest practical projects with the aim of complementing current and future energy system developments. 

Local Energy Connector

Work in each area starts in September and local energy plans will be completed by mid-2018.

Selected recommendations supported by the project will be implemented by October 2019.

Euan Scott of Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh (Barra & Vatersay Community) Ltd said:

“I’m delighted that Barra and Vatersay is one of the four areas to be selected as part of the COBEN pilot. Having progressed a community wind turbine project we are now looking for new opportunities around local supply and consumption of energy that will benefit the community, against a backdrop of grid constraint.

“As an island community Barra and Vatersay face the challenges of energy dependency on fossil fuels, high transportation costs, limited economic diversification and access to markets. The COBEN project is an opportunity to address this through looking at the use and the supply of energy for heat, power and transport as a whole and developing a plan for the future.”

The COBEN Project is an EU Interreg (North Sea Region) funded programme consisting of six community energy projects across the North Sea Region. The Scottish pilot is 50% match funded through the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

For further information, contact:

Ross Jones, Energy Systems Specialist (COBEN), Local Energy Scotland
on 07467 953 745 or email

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