Andrew Clark
Mark Adair

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Four projects in the North East have received funding from the North East and Yorkshire (NEY) Net Zero Hub to help power renewable energy schemes in rural communities.

Humsaugh Net Zero CIC, Haltwhistle Partnership, Norham Community Energy Project and Smart Connected Renewable Community Energy have all been awarded funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), a £10m national programme which supported rural communities to develop renewable energy projects.

As Andrew Clark, Energy Sector Lead at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) explained that the four projects have received funding left over from underspend in other parts of the country.

The funding is managed by the North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub, and the North East LEP supported with the allocation of funding to projects in the North East.

Humshaugh Net Zero CIC has been awarded £67,000 to develop a solar PV electricity generation facility to be ready to build in 2023. Solar PV was identified in the RCEF 1 Phase 2 study as a viable solution following a comprehensive independent review of low carbon energy generation options for the Parish of Humshaugh.

Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre secured £53,320 to enable the completion of all necessary pre-development work needed to progress with their work into utilising heat from water flowing through underground mines to contribute to heating their pool, which could potentially provide heat for adjacent sites.

Norham Community Energy Project was provided with an additional £34,973 to employ a qualified and experienced consultancy to investigate the community energy requirements, research the local renewable energy generation opportunities, and advise on the relative feasibility of the options available.

Smart Connected Renewable Community Energy (CAN) received £94,060 to progress the installation of solar panels and associated battery storage at 19 community buildings which were surveyed during stage one of their project using funding from their initial RCEF award.

NEY Hub Manager, Karen Oliver-Spry, said, “It’s great to see such interesting, varied and beneficial projects being supported by the NEY Net Zero Hub. There is so much potential for communities to take control of energy in their localities to make it greener, more sustainable and more affordable for local people.”

Andrew Clark added, “community energy is a key theme in the North East Energy for Growth strategy, which lays out how we will drive economic growth in our region while also delivering on national energy objectives such as reducing carbon emissions and bringing forward innovative new energy technologies.”

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