Hydro Trust makes new push to connect north of Scotland communities with electric ambitions

The Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust is making a new push to help community projects connect to the electricity network in the north of Scotland. 

The Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust is an independent charitable trust that was set up in 1998 by Scottish Hydro Electric plc (now SSE plc). The Trust can consider applications for support with the cost of connecting to the electricity network for community groups and domestic customers in the Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution licence area. Full details and information on how to apply for support are available on its website at www.shect.org 

Ahead of the next round of applications which closes on Friday 20 May 2016, the Trust has announced that it is extending its support to fund up to 75% of the cost of connections for community projects. It will also now fund up to 50% of this cost for individual customers who need support to meet the costs of a new domestic connection.

Ron Brown, Trust Chairman says:

“The Trust was set up to recognise the particular challenges often associated with connecting to the electricity network in the north of Scotland, especially in rural and island communities.

“In recent years, our fund has helped communities to connect their own renewable power to the grid, as well as supporting the connection of important community housing projects from Harris to Helmsdale. The importance of electricity continues to grow, with potential for more renewable generation and innovative use in heating, storage and transport.

“We are keen to receive applications from projects that can bring significant benefits to their communities and which require a new electricity connection. Depending on the level of benefit to the community, we will be able to fund between 50% and 75% of the cost. We would also encourage individual customers who are facing high costs to apply and we can support up to 50% of their connection costs.”

Last year the Trust awarded 23 grants totalling £61,815. This included a grant of £13,100 to the Helmsdale and District Development Trust towards the connection cost for an affordable housing scheme. The project has created four new family homes in an economically fragile remote Highland village to help combat depopulation and decline.

Paul Harrington from the Helmsdale and District Development Trust said: “The grant from the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust enabled us to meet the costs of connecting the first new affordable homes in our community for more than 35 years. The homes are 100% owned by and for the community, operating a special lettings policy.  Without support from the Trust, the cost of connecting to the electricity network would have been a significant barrier to the delivery of our project.”

Further information on the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust and an application form are available from its website at www.shect.org