South Brent’s community-owned Vestas V27 started production last week and 10th September sees 2355kWh on the clock.
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.
Power to the people!
1 Renewable Energy Focus Volume 14 issue 4
If this property’s share in a community-owned wind turbine were taken into account, it would have the lowest energy use and CO2 emissions of all properties in the recent Retrofit Revealed report.
Two of HHP’s retrofit projects were included in a recent report by the Technology Strategy Board, and whilst the published results look good, they are not the full story due to the role played in our design by off-site renewable energy.
The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funded the Retrofit for the Future competition to encourage innovation in the retrofit market and understand what actually works. 87 projects were awarded up to £150k each to retrofit social housing units, aiming to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 levels compared to 1990 averages. HHP won funding for a project to retrofit 2 semi-detached houses in Newark, Notts, which have now been re-occupied for over 2 years.
The TSB has recently produced a report, Retrofit Revealed, providing the first analysis of data from the monitoring of 37 of the projects.
As we had split the (not inconsiderable) budget between two properties, we were pleased to see that one of our retrofitted houses (property number TSB023) still had the 8th lowest level of CO2/m2 (3rd best of the all-electric properties) whilst the other (property number TSB022) was a credible 26th. In terms of total energy use (per m2), our properties were 4th and 12th respectively. This shows the impact of being an all-electric property, as electricity has a much higher carbon intensity than gas; and the impact of resident behaviour, as the houses are built and retrofitted to identical specifications.
Our choice of going ‘all-electric’ was deliberate: it is not a finite resource like gas; and because our design off-set that electricity use through investment (from the project budget) in a local community-owned wind turbine.
The impact of this investment is not recognised by the TSB report but it has proven much more cost-effective and a lower maintenance approach than on-site renewables. Analysis of the energy data for Property TSB023, for which we have 2 years of meter readings, shows that if its share of SHOCK turbine generation were taken into account, it would have the lowest energy use and CO2 emissions of all properties. A £1,500 investment offset 43% of the annual energy use, and at the same time the social landlord has a regular income rather than a maintenance overhead.
This offsite offset would not be recognised in the properties’ Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) either. This matters because the Government said in their Energy Efficiency Strategy that it intends to make more policies conditional on energy efficiency. Onsite renewables would be recognised, but what about all those unable to install systems onsite due to property type, leasehold or planning restrictions? Or simply unable to afford an onsite system at higher upfront cost per kW?
Further key aspects of our design (passive solar gain, high thermal mass and buffer zones) are not fully recognised by SAP, the Government’s assessment tool, and so similarly the benefits would not be fully registered in the EPC.
Here’s hoping that TSB take a technology-neutral look at the results and feedback into SAP what really works for different properties, and their residents.
The Sustainable Hockerton community-owned wind turbine continues to turn a profit! Members of the Society have received payments of 8% interest and there is enough money left in the bank to donate £10,000 to the village to pursue sustainability and energy saving projects. Not bad for the second year of full operation! The most frequent quote from investors was “I only wish I had invested more!”
If you would like help with setting up a community wind turbine project please contact us.
Two wind turbines have popped up around HHP. Patrick, an organic farmer in Hockerton, has installed a Gaia 11kW and another local farmer has erected an Enercon E33 near Eakring. SYNERGY the transition group in our neighbouring town of Southwell is also working on plans to put up a community owned Enercon E33 south of the town at Brackenhurst (part of Nottingham Trent University).
Closer to home Sustainable Hockerton’s turbine the Vestas V29 has had a fantastic December with well over 50 000 kWh produced! – A record for one single month. At over 23p per unit that makes a good income for the village! Whether community owned or farmer led wind harvesting seems to be catching on around us.
Hockerton’s community-owned wind turbine is beginning to reap financial rewards for both its shareholders and the village. It has just paid out its first interest payment to members of 5%, only 18 months after production started. It has also made money available to the village.
You can find out more of what Sustainable Hockerton have done on their web site and a take part video.