Funding tackles fuel poverty across Argyll & Bute

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Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) has been awarded £5.1 million by the Warm Homes Fund to launch a scheme to address fuel poverty across Argyll & Bute.

With the investment from ACHA’s own resources of another £5.6m, the project will generate a further £4.2m of Renewable Heat Incentive funding which ACHA will reinvest in other energy efficiency projects to reduce fuel poverty in the area.

On top of this, ACHA tenants are set to benefit from an additional £754,000 of ECO funding from SSE which will be used to improve insulation in their homes. This gives a total of £15.654m of direct investment which will start in August 2019 with a completion date of December 2021.

ACHA’s successful joint bid with SSE Energy Solutions Ltd will result in the installation of over 1000 Air Source Heat Pumps for selected Argyll & Bute households classified as “fuel poor”. Fuel poverty is particularly significant in Argyll and Bute, with 45 per cent of households classified as “fuel poor” – compared with a Scotland-wide figure of 26.5 per cent. By replacing older heating systems with the more efficient Air Source Heap pumps, householders will enjoy more cost-effective heating.

While the investment is primarily aimed at ACHA’s housing stock, the programme is set to benefit an additional 200 qualifying fuel poor privately owned or rented households who will be eligible for free or subsidised Air Source Heap Pump systems.

ACHA’s chief executive Alastair MacGregor welcomed the award. He said: “The installation of Air Source Heat Pumps will bring practical benefits to our tenants as well as reducing our area’s carbon footprint. As an organisation we are committed to tackling fuel poverty head-on – as well as planning for the future. That’s why this funding is so important. It marks a turning point by enabling us to improve the everyday lives of our tenants today as well as generating funds we can reinvest in energy efficiency measures tomorrow.

“I’m delighted that ACHA has been successful in our bid for this hugely significant sum of money. I would like to thank everyone in the ACHA team who worked on this.”

Jeremy Nesbitt, managing director of Affordable Warmth Solutions, said: “We are excited about this investment from National Grid and are delighted to support ACHA to fund the scheme to address fuel poverty across Argyll &Bute. Solving the issues associated with fuel poverty continues to challenge many of our stakeholders and the feedback we’ve already received provides evidence of how the Warm Homes Fund will make a positive difference to thousands of homes throughout Great Britain.”