The government's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday unveiled plans to make available an additional £30m of funding to support energy efficiency improvements to public sector buildings and local community energy projects.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announced that £10m would be ploughed into a new Local Energy Assessment Fund to help local communities develop energy projects and another £20m in Salix loans would be made available for energy efficiency in schools, universities, hospitals, local authorities and other public sector buildings. Salix is an independent social enterprise, a not for profit company limited by guarantee which provides funding for proven technologies which are cost effective in saving CO2.

Chris Huhne stated that "This is great news for the public sector. Not only do we need to encourage energy efficiency in our schools, hospitals and universities, we also need to get green energy generation and energy efficiency into our communities. That's why we are also making £10million available for communities to help spur an energy revolution at a local level."

The £10 million Local Energy Assessment Fund will be administered by the Energy Saving Trust and run as a competition, whereby around 200 community organisations such as parish councils, voluntary associations, development trusts and faith groups will have the chance to become involved in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. There will be approximately £50,000 in funding available to each successful applicant. The scheme will be awarded in two rounds with the first application period running from yesterday until noon on 22 December and the second round running until noon on 20 January 2012.

Meanwhile, the additional £20m available in Salix loans is expected to reduce public sector energy bills by up to £46m a year while cutting carbon emissions by 210,000 tonnes. The £20 million has been made available for public sector energy efficiency projects in England, such loans to be agreed before the end of March 2012. Repayments are made from the money saved on bills, following which the organisation will continue to benefit from the low carbon equipment and the savings it delivers.

This further investment highlights another example of the Government's support of improving energy efficiency and incentivising development in the renewable energy sector.

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