With access to finance vital to the future success of Scotland's low-carbon economy, it is imperative that businesses and investors are aware of the funding options available. Chief among these is the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), the £103 million fund delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank (the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise) on behalf of the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies.

REIF will consider projects that support the delivery of energy from a renewable source or represent an innovative renewable energy technology. Areas of anticipated demand for REIF include projects that will: accelerate the growth of the marine renewable energy sector in Scotland, increase community ownership of renewable energy projects in Scotland or support district heating networks that utilise renewable heat technologies.

Marine energy: Scotland's waters have historically been a bountiful larder and a rich resource of natural assets. In today's world, however, looking to renewable energy, and alongside initiatives such as the Marine Renewable Commercialisation Fund and Marine Energy Array Demonstrator capital grant scheme, REIF can provide gap funding to facilitate technology development leading to the deployment of demonstration arrays, and ultimately commercial arrays, of multiple devices.

District heating: Already recognised as one of the most efficient methods of maximising the benefits of a central renewable heat source, renewable district heating is also a focus area for the fund. REIF can provide support for projects in Scotland that have a demonstrable funding gap.

Community-owned renewable projects and community investments into commercially owned renewable projects: REIF builds on the early-stage support for community-led renewable projects by offering access to loan and equity support, as well as guarantees, for projects wholly owned by communities, as well supporting communities in buying into commercially owned projects.

The REIF team works closely with the Scottish Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) and can provide guidance from an early stage in the process.

Companies and community groups trying to pull together a funding package are encouraged to make contact with the REIF team at an early stage.

For more information on REIF and its array of opportunities, visit www.scottish-enterprise.com/investment