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The bumper crop of share offers we’ve supported have been doing very well. Heartland Wind has raised its pioneer funds (£450,000) and paid deposits on its turbines today. Work is now focusing on the main share offer, launching on 28 April. New Leaf Solar have also reached their target and are busy working on planning for their landfill solar project. Ludlow Hydro is nearly there at 85% with a fantastic local response. Meanwhile installation work has begun at Pomona with the share offer still underway – there are also shares still available at Corwen Hydro. NICE have raised nearly 70% of their £150,000 total, bringing community solar to Northern Ireland. Meanwhile Liverpool Solar and Bury Hydro have both raised around 50% of their development pots for groundbreaking projects in the North West. See our live page for all live share offers.

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Sustainable Bridgnorth are a community group we have been working with for many years now.  One project we have been supporting them with in particular is that of a wind power project a few miles west of Bridgnorth, Crida Community Wind.

The planning application for a single wind turbine is now live on the Shropshire Council website.  Some objectors to the project are still talking about the proposal as one for a big developer and for landowner benefit and have overlooked the community aspect of the scheme.  With the National Trust announcing today that climate change is the biggest threat to their properties and land, it has never been more apparent that every community needs to do what they can to tackle the crisis.

Sustainable Bridgnorth and Sharenergy would welcome letters of support for this application, from anybody, but particularly if you live in Shropshire or have a connection with the area.

A sample letter of support and details about the project can be found at: www.cridawind.org.uk.   The time to write in is short – until mid April.  So please, write in as soon as possible.  Thank you.

Proposed location of Crida Community wind turbine Snapshot of Crida Wind turbine location

Neen Sollars

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It’s a record – Sharenergy is currently supporting no less than nine share offers live or impending: 2 wind projects, 5 hydro and 2 solar. We’ll be featuring them on our live projects page as they get up and running over the next week. They include Heartland Community Wind (our biggest ever project – 2 x 250kW turbines and £1.8m in total), Ludlow Hydro (nearly 7 years in the making), and lots of other great projects, some of which we have been heavily involved in steering from the beginning, and others where we have provided only a few services in support of a very capable local development team.  Taking both approaches means we stay on our toes  – and it has lead to our most productive ever period. We’ve not been neglecting the older projects either -we’ve been spotted at the riverside holding spanners for Bill Duley of Neen Sollars Community Hydro (pictured)

Ludlow Hydro

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After Chase Community Solar has reached its target, 2015 is really hotting up  – Heartland Community Wind is due to launch this week and we’ve got three new share offers going live later in February:

Ludlow Community Hydro  is a 30kW hydro going right in the middle of the lovely Shropshire town of Ludlow. An archimedes screw turbine will repower the historic Ludford Mill.

Corwen Electricity Co-operative is a 42kW project which by contrast uses high-head technology – harnessing a mountain stream which plunges 150m towards the town of Corwen in North Wales

Pomona Solar aims to carry out a number of installs in Herefordshire – starting with a 250kW ground-mounted array. Unlike big solar farms, these panels are feeding directly into small businesses on the farm – including a coachbuilder and barrel maker.

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Magnificent work from Chase Community Solar who have reached their target of £750,000- fully subscribed today with a few days to spare. We’re keen to see more projects around the UK using this innovative model  – solar panels owned by a co-op going on lots of council-owned or housing-association-owned buildings – low carbon generation, fuel poverty alleviation and a sound viable social enterprise all in one.

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We don’t want to give too much detail just yet, but a number of new community energy share offers are due to be launched between now and the end of April.  Even better, which ever form of renewable energy you prefer, there will be a share offer for you.

If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to our mailing list and twitter feed and be the first to get news on these share offers. If you are a UK tax payer you we be able to take advantage of pioneer tax incentives (SEIS) on eligible offers.

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We are very pleased to announce that Ludlow Hydro Co-operative has received its planning permission and impoundment licence jsut before the end of December.

This has allowed us to submit our application for preliminary accreditation to OFGEM before the deadline of 31st December which has allowed us to lock into the current Feed in Tariff. If we had not met this deadine, we would have had to accept the FIT tariff reduction which is expected at the start of April 2015.

We now have all the permits we need in order to go ahead with construction. Before we do this we need to complete and sign the necessary leases, which are well in hand. As soon as these are signed, we will be launching a share offer to raise the funds needed for construction. We are hoping to do this by the beginning of February.

 

 

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All the NRW licences for the scheme at Corwen have now been obtained.

We obtained planning permission in September, however, since then, the location where the turbine house at the bottom was to go has become unavailable and we have had to alter the location of the turbine house. This does not significantly affect the yield or cost of the scheme, but does mean that the planning permission needs to be re-submitted so that it accurately reflects how the scheme will be built.

From our discussion with the planning officers, there is little question that this amendment will be accepted by the planners. The only consequence is that it has meant that we do not have planning permission of the actual final design by the 31st December. This was the date that we needed to submit an application to OFGEM  (“preliminary accreditation”) in order to lock into the current feed in tariff.

We have submitted an application to OFGEM with the existing planning permission. OFGEM state in their guidance that preliminary accreditation would be invalid if the “site” is different between the final application and the planning application submitted with the preliminary accreditation. OFGEM do not give examples of what constitutes “different” and leave this to individual site by site assessment.

We therefore do not know at present whether our submission for preliminary accreditation will remain valid. We have flagged this change of planning permission up with OFGEM and await their decision. If they do decide that the scheme is “different” this would mean that we would have to accept the post 31 March 2015 FIT tariff. Our calculations indicate that the scheme is still viable under the reduced tariff but the amount of community fund would have to be smaller.

The final component before we can build is to complete all the leases. We have funding from Ynni’r Fro to pay or all legal costs, and are already in detailed discussions with all landowners and we hope to get these signed, and confirmation from OFGEM on the FIT tariff, by the end of January. We will then aim to run a share offer for the construction costs during February and March.

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We are delighted that the share offer has now gone past £250,000 (now standing at £260,250). You can see instantly the current total on the Ethex website www.ethex.org.uk