Local Energy Scotland is a consortium that administers and manages the Scottish Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), whose purpose is to support the development of locally owned renewable energy projects with wider community benefits. For that purpose, it offers a wide range of guides, resources and tools, covering community energy planning and the development of such projects. All the material is publicly accessible online.
The community-led local energy plan toolkit discusses how to engage the community and develop a common local energy plan that takes into consideration the current and future energy requirements of the community, and that evaluates different technological options. The process is described in six stages: initializing, mobilisation, data gathering, options appraisal, plan development and taking the plan forward.
Further, there are several guides and introductory material for different technology options, including solar, wind, heat pumps, biomass, community-owned microgrids and others. The business planning section of the CARES toolkit provides information on sources of finance, project finance, shared ownership models, contracts for difference, electricity markets and feed-in-tariffs. The project development section provides details on various aspects, from developing the project idea to project planning, site selection, construction,, grid connection and procurement.
Finally, the toolkit also discusses how to establish a community group, including the different legal forms, the management and governance of the group, and how to develop partnerships and collaborations.