PRESS RELEASE: Community Energy Scotland calls on UK Government to not forget Scotland in Energy Bill buy-off 

11 August 2023

Community Energy Scotland (CES) has expressed its deep disappointment today at the UK Government’s announcement of the new Community Energy Fund. The fund, which is only available in England, was announced by the Government as an alternative to allowing amendments to the Energy Bill that would have allowed community energy schemes across the UK to sell their clean, renewable power to local people – and provide a guaranteed price for their electricity. 

Following CES’s initial support for the amendments, as well as providing extensive input on what this fund should look like if they were not to go through, Community Energy Scotland have expressed their surprise and frustration both at the amendments being dropped and that the announced fund excludes Scotland, and have issued a call on the UK Government to rethink this decision. 

Community Energy Scotland calls on the UK government to commit to the inclusion of local energy trading through the Review of Electricity Markets Arrangements (REMA) and to commit a portion of the Community Energy Fund to the devolved nations in order to ensure that communities all across the UK can take advantage of the huge opportunities in energy and decarbonisation. 

Responding to the announcement, Community Energy Scotland’s CEO Zoë Holliday said;  

“The argument from the UK Government that this fund replaces the inclusion of the community energy amendments in the Energy Bill doesn’t hold up. 

“The potential for community renewable energy to benefit local economies is continuing to be blocked by unfair regulations; local communities are prevented from selling energy that they produce to local people and in turn tackling fuel poverty; increasing local resilience; and investing locally in communities. The impact of the Community Energy Fund will be trivial compared to the opportunities that communities could have had if these amendments went through.  

“Furthermore, the proposed amendments in the Energy Bill would have had a positive impact for community energy groups across the UK, so it does not make any sense that any fund that is being launched instead of the amendments (or to act as a bridge until such time as regulations are improved for the better) applies only to England. 

“While we appreciate and commend the Scottish Government’s consistent support for the CARES programme, any new additional funding in lieu of a UK wide change on legislation should be available to community groups across the UK, including our over 400 members in Scotland, either by allowing communities in Wales and Scotland to apply to the new Community Energy Fund or by allocating a certain proportion of this additional new money to be allocated to the devolved nations to distribute via their existing programmes.” 

Conference 2023: The role of communities in delivering fair and inclusive decarbonisation

We warmly invite you to our first in-person conference since 2019!

Wednesday 27th September, Augustine United Church, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL


This free event is being organised by Community Energy Scotland in collaboration with the Community Learning Exchange (Scottish Community Alliance – SCA). The aims of the conference are to:

  • Bring Scottish community organisations together to discuss and share learnings on an inclusive transition to decarbonisation that values well-being for all
  • Highlight the critical role of members and Community Energy Scotland in shaping strategic Scottish and UK policy and decision-making

The Programme

  • There will be opportunities to interact throughout including asking questions to the specially selected panels.
  • We are delighted to announce that Bobby Macaulay will deliver the Sandy Macaulay Lecture incorporating his father’s passion and pioneering work in community energy into his own expertise on community development.
  • Jill Keegan, Partnership Manager at Scottish Community Alliance, and conference collaborator, will demonstrate how SCA’s Community Learning Exchange programme supports the value of in person visits and how CES members can benefit. Jill will be on hand during the course of the day at the stall provided by Scottish Communities Alliance. This will be a perfect opportunity to discuss face to face with Jill how best your organisation can take advantage of CLE’s funding for peer learning visits.
  • Pauline Smith, CEO of Development Trusts Association Scotland will also join us along with her colleague, Morven Lyon, Community Shares Programme Manager, and they will be addressing the role and importance of community-led action in the just transition to decarbonisation.
  • Tom Lusink and Scott Watson, from Raasay Development Trust and Cumbrae Community Development Company respectively, will present work achieved so far as part of the Carbon Neutral Islands project. The project is led by the island communities to determine their own pathway and each island has now produced a Community Climate Action Plan based on the ideas and priorities identified by the people living there. The next phase of the project will involve taking these plans forward into real tangible actions that will help decarbonise local economies, increase resilience to climate change, and provide wider social and economic benefits. Ultimately replication across the wider country will support other organisations’ sustainable development plans.
  • Kristopher Leask, our Policy Manager, will introduce himself and this new role in our organisation. Kris will present the policy and advocacy work he has been focusing on to date and the plans for our membership to steer our future policy work. Dr Josh Doble, Policy Manager from Community Land Scotland, who has a key interest in the opportunities for progressive land reform within Scotland, will be co-delivering this presentation with Kristopher.
  • Lunch is provided onsite when there will be more time to network and discuss your community’s plans and aspirations.
  • Mid-afternoon, we welcome further inspiration from Felix Wight, previously Head of Development at CES and now Technical Director at Repowering London. Felix will share his own experience of developing local electricity supply models, exploring the benefits they can provide, and the current prospects for changes to legislation to make it easier for all communities to make the most of their power.
  • During the afternoon, we will facilitate focused discussion groups, covering critical topics, including those suggested by our members, and designed to share knowledge and develop ideas between peers. Key points will be identified and shared with everyone at the conference with an additional opportunity to raise questions to a panel of experts before we wrap up for the day.

Afternoon focused groups will cover:

  • Climate change action plans – energy, transport, land & sea, waste
  • The energy infrastructure system and its challenges and opportunities
  • Repowering
  • Linking community renewables with addressing fuel poverty
  • Community energy and land ownership as an alternative to carbon trading
  • Sustainable transport in our communities
  • Re-energising stakeholder collaboration: learning from the RIPEET project in the Outer Hebrides

We look forward to welcoming everyone to an interesting and valuable day for our members.

Everyone is also invited to informal drinks at the end of the day at the Waverley Bar, a 10 minute walk from Augustine United Church.

**Limited CES Member tickets available only – to reserve your space, please contact**

Please contact if you have any questions.

Local Energy Scotland

Want to know more about how your community can act on renewable energy?

The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) provides funding and support for communities to engage, participate and benefit from the energy transition to net zero. This year’s CARES conference, which takes place on Tuesday 19 September in Glasgow, is taking a closer look at how communities can take action – from decarbonising community buildings, community investing in windfarms and hearing big ideas from leaders in the sector.

Find out more on Local Energy Scotland’s website.

Carbon Neutral Islands

The Carbon Neutral Islands (CNI) project aims to support six island communities towards achieving net zero by 2040, acting as Lighthouse Communities in Scotland’s decarbonisation journey. The project is led by the island communities to determine their own pathway and each island has now produced a Climate Action Plan based on the ideas and priorities identified by the people living there. The next phase of the project will involve taking these plans forward into real tangible actions that will help decarbonise local economies, increase resilience to climate change, and provide wider social and economic benefits.  

The six islands have produced CNI Community Climate Action Plans: 

In May 2022, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands announced that six Scottish islands would be supported by the Carbon Neutral Islands project: Barra & Vatersay, Cumbrae, Hoy & Walls, Islay, Raasay, and Yell, representing one island from each of the local authority areas with responsibility for inhabited islands in Scotland.  

The CNI Project is a Scottish Government commitment that aims to demonstrate the climate-resilience and low carbon potential of islands by 2040. The CNI project will help to deliver key commitments in the National Islands Plan and the National Performance Framework, create island-based jobs, and support islands to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The project aims to align with wider net-zero and decarbonisation efforts and will contribute to the Scottish Government’s statutory target to reach net zero by 2045

Drivers underpinning the Carbon Neutral Islands Project

The CNI project is underpinned by the following key drivers: alignment, justice and inclusion, and replicability. 

Alignment: The project aims to align with existing island-based climate change actions and to avoid duplication of efforts.  

Justice and inclusion: The project will support islands to become carbon neutral in a just and fair way.  

Replicability: The work is being completed to standardised and agreed methodologies wherever possible to allow replication and direct comparison.  

Project Structure

The project is led by community development officers (CDOs) on each island, employed by the local anchor organisation and working with a steering group of community representatives. Local knowledge and trusted relationships are key to effective community engagement, ensuring the project is driven by, and reflects, the concerns of the island communities. 

Support is provided by the Scottish Government Islands Team: Community Energy Scotland, Scottish Communities Climate Action Network, Sniffer, Aquatera, and external project partners​.  

The six Local Anchor Organisations are Voluntary Action Barra and VatersayCumbrae Community Development CouncilIsland of Hoy Development Trust,  Islay Energy TrustRaasay Development Trust and North Yell Development Council.

The CNI Process

Carbon Audit Overview

Carbon audits have been completed to measure and monitor baseline emissions across key sectors for each island – Energy; Transport; Waste; Agriculture; and Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). The audits follow the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories, and IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories

The Scottish Blue Carbon Forum are also working to include blue (marine) carbon in the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory. A ‘Habitat Suitability Study’ is in development within the CNI project framework to estimate blue carbon potential for the islands.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is built around the following core principles: 






In alignment with these principles, and to ensure effective benchmarking, the audits are intended to be island-led and replicable by local communities. By using local expertise, the data used is both robust and specific to the islands. Where possible, existing audits and supporting data have been used, and data has been provided by island residents or verified by local experts. 

Community Climate Action Plans

Next Steps

The next stage of the CNI project will refine the communities’ actions into detailed proposals. The actions will be evaluated in terms of their cost, feasibility, carbon impact, and wider benefits to the community. This will lead to the development of detailed community investment strategies. 

It is essential the actions are led by and developed for the community. This requires the communities to lead on immediate actions by taking advantage of ‘quick wins’ and working on longer-term plans. Most actions require collaboration, so building partnerships in both the public and private sectors is critical. This will allow the communities to make tangible progress towards their own visions of a decarbonised future. 

Going forward, the CNI Project aims to benefit other Scottish Islands by sharing learnings from the six ‘lighthouse’ islands. A Climate Action Handbook for island communities will present the resources developed through the project, and knowledge sharing events will showcase good practices and lessons learned from the project. 

Community Energy Fortnight 2023: 10 – 23 June

Community Energy Fortnight – the opportunity to make your organisation’s activities visible within the local community and demonstrate to the rest of our sector, including influential stakeholders, what community energy and decarbonisation is about and the wide community benefits it creates.

The Community Energy Fortnight programme is a perfect spotlight to showcase our sector’s achievements, and even its challenges, to a wider audience.

Knowledge and skills sharing is a key focus for this year’s programme – share your own experiences and post links online to useful material you have produced or received. Or host your own skill sharing event! We will also be sharing information on social media so keep an eye on our daily posts.

You may have a video that could benefit others, or create one for the programme. If you organise a community event, tell everyone online about it too! Photos are always a winner and an easy win if you’re looking for a quick item to post online.

CEF 2023 Logo | Hashtag Banner | Email Signature | CEF 2023 Logo (transparent)

Community Energy Scotland’s response to the Scottish Government’s Draft Energy Strategy & Just Transition Plan

This Scottish Government document explicitly states a goal of “maximising community benefits from, and ownership of, energy projects”.

While this is a welcome commitment, in our response to this important consultation, we have stressed the need and have detailed ways to address some of the Scottish Government’s strategic goals and plans relating to community energy and other community decarbonisation activities. Community Energy Scotland also recommends the Scottish Government considers longer term strategic goals in order to maintain a realistic perspective on its obligations and expectations, whilst fully addressing the needs of the communities it serves and tackling the climate emergency.

Critically, the need for clearer definitions to identify genuine community ownership has been highlighted. Emphasis has also been placed on the importance of enabling community groups and anchor organisations to use their skills and expertise for delivering local benefits in a fair and just way.

We have requested additional government support for communities to fulfil their plans and upscale their activities in order to thrive and to collectively contribute substantially to government climate-related targets. We are strongly urging both the Scottish and UK governments for significant policy change enabling local energy trading to create localised markets and support micro-grids and decentralisation of the energy market.

You can read our full response in the link below.

A step closer to community renewables selling energy locally

Yesterday we wrote, on behalf of our members, to Scotland’s MPs urging them to attend the House of Commons’ second reading of the Local Energy Bill on 9th May. Read our letter here.

Two weeks ago, the House of Lords voted to add two amendments to the Local Energy Bill at its Lords Report stage. This means that the Energy Bill now contains two new clauses – numbers 272 and 273, that would enable growth in community renewable energy schemes by allowing them to sell their energy locally.

This is a critical point in the life of the Bill as it now comes to the House of Commons containing the community energy enabling legislation we and others are calling for. All that remains is to persuade the Government to allow the clauses to stay in the Bill. The next vital step is to get many MPs to attend the Bill’s Second Reading debate in the Commons on Tuesday 9th May and to speak in favour of the clauses.

Power for People have been leading this UK-wide campaign and to date have the support of over 300 MPs, 78 national organisations and over 800 local organisations.

You can find an easy guide here for identifying and writing to your MP.

We are recruiting – Policy Manager

Advocating for our members is one of the most important roles for Community Energy Scotland and we have now created a specialist position within our team to engage a colleague who will provide full focus on this critical activity.

With a proven track record of excellent professional relationship-building and -maintenance skills, the person will be responsible for leading in the development and delivery of the Community Energy Scotland Policy and Advocacy strategy.

The need of a sound understanding of both UK and Scottish Government parliamentary functions and the process of national policy, regulation and legislative development, and knowledge of the process of and challenges involved in deploying renewable energy systems, is essential for this highly motivated and committed individual who will share the strong values of our organisation.

Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan published

The Scottish Government has published its draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, which sets out key ambitions for a just energy transition that benefits communities across Scotland and protects our environment and energy security. Additional sectoral Just Transition Plans for Buildings and Construction, Land Use and Agriculture and Transport are expected to be published within the first half of 2023.

The Strategy includes commitments to increasing access to affordable energy, prioritising those in or at risk of fuel poverty. It also includes a commitment to maximising community benefits from, and ownership (including shared ownership) of, energy projects, and providing regional and local opportunities to participate in a net zero energy future.

The fact that Scotland has diverse communities with differing needs is recognised, and the report states that “by 2030, regions and communities will be empowered to participate in the energy transition in a way that meets their needs including increasing the number of community owned energy projects…. By 2030 the costs and benefits of the growth in our clean electricity generation will be shared equitably across society”. How this will be achieved is not specified; it will be important that community consultation on local issues is included in the final version of the strategy.

Specific programmes for rural and island communities are also highlighted, with Community Energy Scotland’s Carbon Neutral Islands project being mentioned, as well as £30 million of loans and grants for people on lower incomes in remote and island communities to switch to zero emissions vehicles. The need for investment in electricity infrastructure against rising costs of constraints  is recognised,  as well as the importance that charging arrangements are reformed as “in a net zero world it is counterproductive to care more about where generation is situated than what type of generation it is”.

“It is refreshing to see a draft Scottish Government strategy with communities at its heart. The recognition that a just energy transition needs to meet the needs of different communities and geographies is also particularly welcomed. We will now engage in the consultation process to ensure that communities are not only seen as key beneficiaries of the strategy but also as key actors in its realisation. Agencies such as Heat and Energy Scotland should work in partnership with local groups to reach the most vulnerable people and mobilise communities to help to achieve the Scottish Government’s targets on every aspect of energy, from reduction in energy demand, installation of additional renewable energy capacity and behavioural change towards public and active transport.

“Additional support for communities, both in terms of finance and capacity building, will also be required if the Scottish Government is to achieve its targets on active travel and energy efficiency, and especially its 2030 target of 2GW of community and locally owned energy, having missed the 2020 target.”

Zoe Holliday, CEO of Community Energy Scotland

The full document is available on the Scottish Government website and includes 50 consultation questions. Consultation responses should be submitted by Tuesday 4 April 2023. If you would like to contribute your feedback to CES’s consultation response please get in touch. info(at)

Energy Prices Bill joint statement

We strongly agree with the Government that we need to create a fairer energy system for all and we also agree that the Government needs to act to help all those across Britain who are vulnerable to the steep rises in energy prices.  However, we must be careful that any scheme to protect consumers does not inadvertently and unnecessarily hurt local communities, particularly communities in disadvantaged areas that are trying to better their circumstances by developing and investing in community-owned energy.  

It is important that any new regulations created or implemented under section 16 of the Energy Prices Bill include exemptions for community owned wind farms, solar farms and hydro schemes that reinvest their surplus back into local communities through projects that help the most vulnerable and strengthen and develop these communities in myriad ways, including vital programs targeted at reducing fuel poverty. 

The Environmental Audit Committee’s report of 29 April 2021 ( recognises the wider benefits from community energy and calls on the Government to remove regulatory barriers and improve support to community energy projects. It would be counter-productive for Government in Whitehall to take money away from these communities, even when they are presumably trying to use it for essentially the same purpose of promoting social benefit and growth.

Additionally, given the Government’s ambitious environmental targets, any new regulations that require electricity generators to make payments must not disincentivise investment in renewable electricity generation in the UK either by comparison to the oil and gas sector or in comparison to revenue caps set in the EU. 

As representatives of the community energy sector in England, Wales and Scotland, we have requested an urgent meeting with Ministers to discuss how the creation and implementation of regulations under the Energy Prices Act can achieve its goals in a way that does not reduce the ability of the community energy sector to deliver its services on the ground – which, in the midst of an energy crisis, are needed more urgently than ever.

Community Energy: State of the Sector 2022 report. Read it now.

This year’s report was produced by Community Energy England, Community Energy Wales and Community Energy Scotland, and is available to read from today. It describes the progress of the community energy sector across the UK in 2021 as well as providing a breakdown of the sector’s activities in each nation. This marks the second year that Scottish data has been gathered and is the first year that the survey and report was produced in-house by the three national community energy organisations.

As always, we are very grateful to all organisations that took the time to complete the survey this year. Maintaining an up to date database is crucial if we are to encourage and persuade policy-makers and other stakeholders to create a more supportive policy landscape for community energy at local, regional and national level.

We are also grateful to SP Energy Networks, our sponsors of this year’s report. Scott Mathieson, Director of Planning and Regulation at SP Energy Networks said:

 “We are delighted to support the State of the Sector report for a fourth year. This year’s report is providing timely data for us, which we will be studying carefully to ensure we can support our local communities in the best possible way to help them realise their net zero ambitions.”

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