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Warm Homes Fund launched
A £50 million fund that will invest in green energy projects to help heat homes across Scotland has been officially launched today.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced that two pilot schemes in Glasgow and the Highlands will be the first to be benefit from the Warm Homes Fund.
West Whitlawburn Housing Cooperative in Glasgow and West Highland Housing Association in Oban will both receive assistance for biomass heating schemes, helping more than 550 households to heat their homes more cost effectively.
More councils and housing associations are now being asked to submit bids for the Fund, which will provide grants and loans for the installation of renewable energy measures such as biomass, hydro schemes, wind turbines and solar water heating.
Councils and housing associations applying to the fund will be expected to use any income generated from their schemes to improve the energy efficiency of their existing housing.
Speaking at a renewables and fuel poverty event organised by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) in Glasgow, Mrs Burgess said:
“Rising heating bills are a real concern for households across Scotland. The Warm Homes Fund is a key part of what the Scottish Government is doing to help.
“It will make a real difference to those struggling to make ends meet – helping to cut energy bills this winter and for years ahead.
“Innovative green energy schemes like the two I have announced today can help households to heat their homes more cost effectively.
“And by asking councils and housing associations to reinvest profits into making homes easier to heat, we can ensure older, colder homes are made easier to keep warm.
“While we are doing all we can, prices rises from energy companies remain a huge concern. That is why we are urging the UK government – who has responsibility in this area – to take a firmer stance with energy companies to do more to help vulnerable people and ensure that our households are better protected.”
David Stewart, Policy Manager at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations said:
“In recent years sharply rising domestic energy prices have led to unacceptably high levels of fuel poverty. These fuel price hikes have to an extent undone the good work of housing associations and co-operatives who have significantly improved the energy efficiency of their homes to increase the comfort of their tenants.
“As concerns about fuel poverty and climate change increase, many working within the housing association and co-operative sector believe that small scale or community renewable energy projects have a significant part to play in addressing these two issues by providing clean, affordable energy to tenants. There is also potential for renewables through the Feed in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive, to provide income and potentially cross subsidise core activities such as development of new build affordable housing and investment in existing homes and communities.
“We therefore welcome the Warm Homes Fund as a potential source of (loan) funding to support renewables projects that can help address fuel poverty by providing finance to meet the capital costs of investing in renewable energy projects.”