The first 82 local energy projects have today been awarded financial support from the £10 million Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF). Approximately 200 projects are expected to be named as fund recipients before the scheme closes to new applications on January 20.

Various organisations including parish councils, voluntary associations, development trusts and faith groups are all eligible to apply for LEAF funding, which amounts to approximately £50,000 for each successful bid. The first 82 winners came from England and Wales, and include show homes demonstrating energy efficiency and renewable energy and schemes to check the energy performance of UK homes within local communities. All projects need to be completed by end of March 2012.

Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne said: “We face a gigantic challenge in the coming years to keep the lights on and energy bills down. This means nurturing cleaner, more secure, homegrown energy sources here in the UK so we are not so dependent on imported gas, and boosting the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses to cut out waste. Local communities, with their energy, drive and innovation, are going to be at the heart of this effort, and I hope that this funding acts as a booster rocket to the winning projects.”

Peter Lipman, Chair of Communities and Climate Action Alliance said: “Hundreds of communities responded fantastically to the opportunity afforded by LEAF with imaginative and innovative schemes. It’s wonderful to see that many of them will be funded and so will have a chance to show just what those communities can deliver.”

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “Showing people that ‘going green’ is practical and realistic is essential if we’re to successfully refurbish the housing stock, and enabling people to see energy efficiency measures installed in real homes in their area is a key part of this.  It’s also absolutely crucial that residents of local communities have a say in what will work best in their area, so they can have a stake in our more sustainable future. LEAF, on both counts, sets the groundwork for success.”

LEAF is managed by a consortium of community networks administered by the Energy Saving Trust. The list of 82 LEAF recipients can be viewed here.