Picture of Heartland Launch

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A road show about the Heartland Community Wind project will be hitting Scotland. The events are being organised by Sharenergy on behalf of the group and will include a presentation from Sharenergy’s Jon Hallé on how community benefit societies work and can fund projects, a round up by renewable energy company RM Energy on the project and the management of a wind installation, plus an opportunity to ask questions about this share offer.

Everyone is welcome and there is no obligation to become a shareholder! Free to attend and nearly all venues are central with good public transport and nearby parking. Light refreshments will be available.

Event dates and further details are on the Eventbrite page. Sign-up isn’t essential but helpful to indicate numbers.

Edinburgh 26th May 12.30 pm, Heyweight House, Lauriston St, EH3 9DQ. Eventbrite page here.
Perth 1st June 12.30 pm, The Royal George Hotel,Tay Street, PH1 5LD. Eventbrite page here.
Glasgow 2nd June 12.30 pm – The Lighthouse, G1 3NU. Eventbrite page here.
Edinburgh 2nd June 7.00 pm, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, EH1 1LZ. Eventbrite page here

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Heartland Community Wind will be launching its main share offer in Aberfeldy on Tuesday April 28th 2015 in the Birks Cinema at 7pm.

The share offer will raise the remaining funds needed to construct the two medium-scale turbines, which have planning consent and are due to be operational by November 2015. Just over one million remains to be raised after a very successful ‘pioneer’ share offer which raised £450,000 to place turbine orders.

The main share offer will focus strongly on maximising local involvement and ownership of the Society, although people from outside the area will also be able to become members. Local people will have priority for share applications, and we are reducing the minimum investment to £100. Members will also get a vote on the community fund, generous tax reliefs under the EIS scheme, as well as interest payments on their share capital.

The launch event will include a short presentation explaining the project and how to join the Society, and a chance to meet some of the people who have been working on it to date. Light refreshments will be available.

The launch will include the announcement that Heartland Community Wind will also establish an annual bursary fund of £5,000 for students travelling to Perth College UHI from the PH15 postcode (Aberfeldy and Kenmore), where the renewable energy project will be sited.

Five students will receive £1,000 a year from the Community Benefit Society’s funds to help them with the costs of further or higher education. The link-up between the project and the college will be formally announced and an outline agreement signed when the main share offer for the project is launched at the Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy, on Tuesday.

Perth UHI students

Margaret Munckton, Principal of Perth College UHI, said: “This is an exciting project which is benefiting young people in a highly creative way – and I am very pleased that the college can be part of it.”

John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, whose Perthshire North constituency covers the PH15 postcode, said: “This is an impressive and innovative way to ensure local communities derive genuine benefits from wind turbine developments. Decisions will be made locally, not in some far-away corporation’s HQ.

“I am supportive of the sensitive development of clean and carbon-cutting energy in Scotland – and this project is especially positive because young people from the area will benefit in furthering their studies.”

Jon Hallé, Director of Sharenergy, said: “These turbines will be owned 100 per cent by members, who will pay into a local community benefit fund at twice the rate of commercial wind farms – and we are delighted local students will benefit. Members will be helping young people to study and to transform their lives.”

A small panel, including a Heartland director, will examine annual applications for the bursaries and judge which students will gain most from a fund award. Successful students will be asked to report annually on their progress at college and have regular contact to help ensure a positive outcome for their studies.

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For people interested in the Corwen Hydro project, we are organising a guided walk from the water intake at the reservoir to the location of the turbine house in the town on Saturday May 9th. Various people, including the board of volunteer directors, will be present to answer questions about the scheme.

The direct distance is about 700m, but the walk will cover a rather longer distance in order to keep to moderate gradients, as the actual route of the pipeline will be quite steep as the stream nears the town.

Anyone and everyone is welcome. There is no need to book ahead, but please contact Jeremy at info@corwenelectricity.org.uk if you wish to ask any questions. If you wish to join us, please meet at the Owain Glyndwr Hotel at 11 a.m. on 9th May and wear footwear suitable for hill walking. The walk should take no more than an hour. The route is quite rough in places so please be realistic about your ability if you are not confident on uneven ground. As an alternative to walking, cars will be available to take a small number of people up to the reservoir.

The turbine is being funded through community shares, and we still need to raise the final £100,000. Already 85 people have applied for shares in the scheme. We anticipate that by the time the target is reached, we will have between 100 and 150 members in the co-operative.

We are grateful to the Rhug Estate, Natural Resources Wales and Denbighshire County Council, who have given us permission to walk the route.

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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.