The south west of England generates enough renewable electricity to power more than one quarter of all homes in the region, according to a report published by Regen SW. The South West Renewable Energy Progress Report shows that renewable capacity in the south west has increased by 37% over the last 12 months to a total of nearly 1.2GW.
Jonathon Porritt has personally invested in a portfolio of solar and hydro projects in Devon organised by the Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC). TRESOC is looking to raise £1.5 million of investment from the community in order to develop the six renewable energy schemes across Devon.
Following the launch of Berwick’s community wind turbine, a repackaged social enterprise business hopes to roll out more renewable energy projects across the north east. Berwick’s community wind turbine is the first of its kind in the north east of England and Berwick upon Tweed Community Development Trust, owned by local people, expects to benefit from a £2.3million windfall over the next 25 years.
A joint government and industry taskforce has set out proposals to help communities invest in new renewable energy projects. The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) Shared Ownership Taskforce has been considering how to deliver on the goals set out in the government’s Community Energy Strategy, which declared that ministers wanted it to become “the norm for communities to be offered the opportunity of some level of ownership of new, commercially developed onshore renewables projects”.
In 2011-12 Community Energy Warwickshire installed solar panels on roofs at Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Hospitals. This unique collaboration between an NHS body and a community enterprise has generated over 140,000 units of electricity over the last two years, saving over 70 tonnes of carbon. Now we’re extending our solar-powered hospitals scheme with the aim of doubling its size. We launched our new share offer at the end of March 2014, and following a very positive response, we have already installed a new 50 kWp solar panel array at Leamington Spa Hospital. The share offer will remain open until the end of July 2014 to raise the funds for the second planned installation: a 10 kWp solar panel array on an NHS office building next to Warwick Hospital. We need just £10,000 to complete this work, and the share offer will close when we have raised this sum. By investing in our share offer, you will help to fund investment in more solar power at local hospitals. We offer modest financial returns – but a big opportunity to generate renewable energy and help develop a sustainable business which will operate for the long-term benefit of local communities and the environment. Community Energy Warwickshire also has a strong commitment to providing community benefit: we donate one third of our operating surplus to charitable and community projects.
A huge growth in Suffolk’s independent renewables projects has been recorded as farmers, businesses and public sector organisations seek ways of tackling soaring energy prices. New research has revealed a 48% year-on-year increase in funding for schemes such as wind turbines and solar installations in the county – on top of projects from the “Big Six” power companies.
The Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC), an Industrial & Provident Society in the UK, is seeking investment of £1.5 million for the development of hydropower and solar power schemes in Devon. The projects include two hydropower systems on the River Dart at Totnes Weir and Staverton Leat and a hydropower unit on the River Teign at Chudleigh, which is already successfully in operation. The solar schemes involve the installation of panels on housing, a museum and a farm. Once the technologies are installed, the power generated may be used locally or sold to the grid. Output is also eligible for payments through the government Feed In Tariff (FiT) scheme.
Former Friends of the Earth Director Jonathon Porritt says it could be time to get seriously excited about the prospects for community energy in England. First off, it’s great to see the launch of Community Energy England (CEE). For some time now, there has been a real need for a new representative body to promote the interests of those running projects on the ground. The launch shows the sector is shifting from a niche activity run by hard-core pioneers to a potentially disruptive force that can be tapped into by any community. And then, somewhat less excitingly, we have to celebrate the launch of the government’s community energy strategy in January. This was an important step that it was able to take because there was enough activity on the ground to make it look credible enough inside government (and particularly inside the Treasury!) and the rest of the energy sector.
Wetherby-based wind turbine specialist Earthmill has opened the UK’s first crowd-funded investment aimed at farm-scale turbines, which enables individuals to invest in turbine installations already operating on farms across Yorkshire. The innovative fund, which guarantees investors returns of 7.25 per cent per annum over three years, with an additional 0.25 per cent for early investors, has been launched by renewable energy crowd-funding platform Trillion Fund. The minimum investment is £50 and Earthmill’s initial target is to raise £1.25m. Loans will be secured against five already operational farm scale turbines across Yorkshire.
FoE’s league table ranks 32 cabinet members according to the number of solar installations in their constituency. It comes ahead of Saturday, the longest and lightest day of the year – potentially the best day for solar panels – and as Friends of the Earth urges all MPs to get behind its new Schools Run on Sun campaign (supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery), which aims to make it easier for schools to run on solar power. Andrew Lansley rules the school with 3108 solar installations in Cambridgeshire South, and David Cameron earns House points in second place, with 2143 installations in Witney. Justine Greening meanwhile ranks last with just 114 solar installations in her constituency, Putney. The Energy Secretary Ed Davey himself puts on a disappointing performance in third from last place, with just 252 installations in Kingston & Surbiton.