The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Conference today brings together communities and experts to share experiences in a bid to grow the community renewables movement in Scotland. The conference aims to help people keen to start their own project by highlighting the financial support and professional advice available to them through bodies such as Local Energy Scotland.

Anne Schiffer, Friends of the Earth Scotland community power campaigner commented:

“This is a great opportunity to share experience and learn from one another that will help Scotland’s community energy movement grow from strength to strength. Community ownership of energy builds public support for renewables, enables communities to make decisions about their energy future and will help reduce carbon emissions. “

It has been organised by Local Energy Scotland with Energy Minister Fergus Ewing delivering the keynote address. The conference will take place in Stirling on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th March 2015. The second day of the event has been sponsored by the Scottish Community Energy Coalition through the Community Power project.

Anne Schiffer continued: “The Scottish Community Energy Coalition is delighted to sponsor this conference which brings together people who are just starting projects with local and international experts.”

Community Power campaign partners from the hugely successful Belgian co-operative Ecopower will speak at the event. Ecopower grew from a handful of members who originally wanted to revive a small hydro scheme to a renewable energy co-operative with around 50,000 people.         

Anne Schiffer:
At Friends of the Earth Scotland we believe that individuals and community groups should be able to put their own money in community energy initiatives including shared-ownership projects. We need to think ahead to a time when communities here in Scotland are able to follow Ecopower and other European examples and supply as well as generate renewable energy through the national grid. It is important that we encourage legal structures now that will enable Scottish communities to participate in the energy market in the future” 

The conference is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. 

Clara Glovier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery commented:

“I am delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported the Community Power project. This conference will help spread the word about the benefits of these great local initiatives and the positive impact they will have for future generations”

Notes to Editors

1.    Local Energy Scotland will be holding a Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Conference in Stirling on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th March 2015. The conference will celebrate the achievement of Scottish projects and provide information for those thinking of starting their own. http://www.localenergyscotland.org/conference

2.    Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Community Power campaign aims to win public support for the transition to renewables whilst ensuring that communities can benefit.
Community Power is a European campaign with partners in a dozen countries supporting and encouraging communities to run their own energy schemes.  http://www.communitypower.scot

3.    Scottish Community Energy Coalition includes Client Earth, Community Energy Scotland, Energy4All, Energy Action Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Local Energy Scotland, SCENE and Sharenergy. http://www.communitypower.scot/scottish-community-energy-coalition/

4.    Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organization
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups. www.foe-scotland.org.uk

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