This autumn, HHP is racing against the clock to install further solar PV roofs funded by local community energy co-op Sustainable Hockerton.
The plan is to install two roofs on local businesses – one of 10kW and a further one of 27kW. The businesses benefit from lower cost power, Sustainable Hockerton members benefit from continued returns from their investment, and the community benefits from a village sustainability fund.
These new installations will be funded by the co-op’s income from its 225kW wind turbine, potentially with some top-up loans from its members, and will help further diversify the renewable energy systems in our parish.
The clock is, as many of you will know, ticking. The Government plans to substantially cut the feed-in tariff and, as of 1 October, removed the ability to pre-register schemes for the feed-in tariff, removing the certainty that community schemes need to raise investment. These cuts appear far too big and far too early, whilst the attack on investor certainty pushes up costs – which is no way to help reduce energy bills in the long-term. We have sadly also begun to see the impact of specific cuts and a wider policy vacuum on jobs, with the loss of an estimated 1000 jobs at Mark Group and Climate Energy.
We can only hope this attack on renewables is a last gasp from a system historically reliant on the fossil fuel industry. Interest in our approach continues to engage and inspire other communities (pictured above are York Community Energy on a recent visit); and at a crucial time in the run up to Paris talks, the climate now has the Pope, Barack Obama, the governor of the Bank of England and Nanny McPhee firmly on its side.
It is, to say the least, disappointing that the UK Government is no longer leading the green agenda, but this is a global challenge and, as the business world opens its eyes to the high risks it faces, it feels like the balance is shifting.
If you want to find out more about what we’ve achieved at the street and community level, our next Sustainable Living tour is on Saturday 7 November.
We’re delighted to be joining a new mentoring service for Community Energy projects as a Peer Mentor, thanks to a new project funded by the Esmee Fairburn Foundation.
Like the other Peer Mentors across the country, we have a range of experience to share, in terms of scale and technologies, in renewable energy generation. And we are experienced in mentoring a range of projects, having run a similar service through the Energy Saving Trust, as well as our current advisory services.
Eligible community energy groups accepted onto the programme can access up to 6 days of support from the Peer Mentors. It is perceived that mentoring activities will be undertaken using a range of interventions to include face to face meetings (one to one or group), telephone discussions and email exchanges.
Full details will be provided when you apply for support, and you will be matched with the mentor who meets your needs in terms of project type and location – though there’s no harm in requesting us is there?!
Hockerton Housing Project is looking for community energy projects who want to learn from our experience, to take advantage of a new Mentoring Fund.
The scheme is only open to applicants until 12 December 2013, but successful applicants will receive support through to March 2015. It’s a rare offer of funding for community projects that aim to:
· Generate energy
· Reduce energy use, and/or
· Manage and purchase energy
We have a range of experience to share, in terms of scale and technologies, in energy generation, reduction and management. And we are experienced in mentoring a range of projects, having run a similar service through the Energy Saving Trust, as well as our current advisory services.
We would be particularly keen to partner with multiple organisations to improve the cost-effectiveness of our application, with the programme starting with a joint workshop here at Hockerton before moving on to a mix of one-to-one support, community outreach and shared learning initiatives.
Find out more about the fund here, noting the eligibility criteria. If you are interested in the mentoring scheme please get in touchby 2 December, telling us a little about your organization and what you are trying to achieve in the next 18 months.
It is great to this project go live, as it is very similar to our local Sustainable Hockerton turbine, which is also fully community owned, and we have close links to one of the Directors who is also a member of our scheme! We wish them every luck and success as the commissioning process gets under way.
Is it possible that we will now we start to catch up with the Danes where back in 2001 over 100,000 families belonged to wind farm cooperatives installing over 86% of the countries wind turbines? In Germany the national figure is 50% but in some regions 90% of installed wind capacity (700MW) is community owned1.