The government has launched a £15 million fund in order to help rural communities generate clean power.

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) will help rural communities bear the costs associated with feasibility studies and planning permission.

The RCEF will offer funding in two stages. Firstly, a grant will available of up to £20,000 to help rural communities carry out the necessary feasibility studies. The next stage allows communities to apply for a loan worth up to £130,000 to help with project costs, such as planning permission.

The loan will then be repayable to government once the project has received private sector funding. In addition, DECC requires community groups to pay a set amount on top of the loan borrowed which will then be put forward to support other community energy projects across rural England.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) expects funding to support a broad range of renewable technologies including solar, wind, biomass, heat pumps, anaerobic digestion, gas combined heat and power as well as hydro.

Commenting on the launch of the scheme, environment and rural affairs minister Richard Benyon said: “We are determined to boost the rural economy and protect the environment. As well as boosting renewable energy production, the Fund will ensure that communities have the funding they need for local projects and priorities in future.”

Interested parties can apply for RCEF here.