It’s nearly five months since the last update on our hydro scheme. Since then we have been beavering away, trying to get the finance in place to build the scheme. We have a loan offer from the Co-op Bank, but it’s only for 67% of the project cost. This is a lot less than we had anticipated. This leaves us to source a further £200,000.
The rules for the government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme have changed over the last year -this is the scheme that will pay us for creating green energy. It no longer allows the use of public funding for such community schemes. This is now regarded as a State Aid, which would give us unfair advantage over more commercial organisations. So, we are left to source the additional funding from private trust funds or commercial lenders.
Our first port of call was to the Bank of Scotland. Since it was established in 2003, the North Harris Trust has banked with BoS. We asked them for a secured loan for the hydro-scheme – and they refused us! Despite eight years of “in-credit” banking and huge assets to borrow against, despite the government putting pressure on banks to lend to small businesses – they said no. So we are now exploring every other avenue open to us, to source private funding to make the scheme happen.
The good news though is that we now have a Licence from SEPA to extract our water from our river.