Woolhope Woodheat is a Community Co-operative. We install wood fuel boilers free of charge to hard-to heat buildings – and then supply heat at a reduced price over fossil fuel, with woodchip from local, sustainable woodlands. You can join our co-operative and get a decent return on your investment while doing something real to reduce carbon emissions and save neglected woodland from decay.
Check out our short film to find out more. Please note our first share offer is now complete.
Well after a number of false starts we are underway and it’s great to see things happening at what suddenly seems like incredible speed! More photos will be posted as work progresses on site – here is a first taster:
pad for boiler house and chip store
boiler house structure
The boiler house is now in place and the trenches for the district heating dug. Next steps are the chip store, the boiler itself, and the laying of pipes in the trenches.
A lot of work has also been going on behind the scenes in tweaking the design to make sure the system will be as efficient as possible. Completion date is now set for late July – in time for the hottest August in living memory no doubt!
Great news – we now have planning permission for our Canon Frome Court install subject to some landscaping conditions which are in hand as we speak. In the interim we have been making excellent progress with the legal intricacies and making sure all share monies have cleared. We will be writing shortly to all share applicants to share the results of the share offer and to outline our plans for share allocation and spending of funds. Just a few more hurdles to make sure everything is in place - our installers are champing at the bit!
Thanks to everybody who has applied for shares or promoted the project. As you can see from the dial on this page we’ve comfortably reached our target – despite the fact that the dial lags a little and we haven’t finished the processing of the large number of applications we received in the last 2 days of the share offer period. Apologies to anybody who missed out – we are enforcing the deadline strictly so as to be scrupulously fair in share allocations which will be made next week. This is just the first installation for Woolhope Woodheat – we’ll be concentrating on that and then getting back to the business of finding new hard-to-heat buildings who need one of our boilers - ideas gratefully received (they’ll need to be off gas grid and spend at least £5000/yr on heating currently). Once we have some new installs lined up we’ll be doing another share offer so there will be another chance for those who missed out this time. Thanks everyone!
We need another £27,000 by Friday to get that dial finally to the end. If everybody who has ‘sort of promised’ to invest does so, we’ll make it – please do chivvy if you know anyone who is wavering. They need to get applications cheques written and sent – we’ll even collect applications if they are in Herefordshire or somewhere we have friends (including London) – there’s even a nice new way of applying online at microgenius for the post phobic!
We’ve had a great week, adding 14 new prospective members and taking us to 73% of the total. Thanks to all the people who have applied for membership and all who have featured the project on their websites, especially our fellow co-ops who also have share offers on the go: Sheffield Renewables, Drumlin Wind, Brixton Energy. We’ve had a boost from Jesse Norman MP, founder of the Conservative Co-operative Movement and Herefordshire MP, who coincidentally became our 100th applicant. Finally we’re one of the two first co-op share offers to be featured on microgenius – a new website which publicises co-op share offers and which has already helped 6 people find us and join up. 10 days left, please tell your friends!
Those who follow our share offer carefully will notice that our dial is starting to kick noticeably upward towards the finish line with just over 2 weeks to go. We’ve had some significant contributions in the last week or so – thanks to everybody, keep them coming. At the same time we have been able to reduce the overall target significantly due to negotiations which have been ongoing during the share offer period. Firstly, we have been able to agree a 3 year woodchip supply contract on good terms with our supplier. Our initial share offer target included £30,000 to pay up-front for woodchip which we therefore no longer need. We also made provision for a large contingency on top of the cost of the boiler installation. As we get nearer to actually installing, we are finding ways of reducing those uncertainties, so we’ve reduced our contingency fund requirement considerably. In all we have shaved around £50,000 off the overall cost of the project bring our target to £275,000 while still keeping a good margin in case of the unexpected. This is great news for the project as it means we are that much nearer to raising the funds we need and getting the installation going. It’s also good for members as it looks like it will increase returns somewhat in the early years and perhaps overall. Hopefully new members will be persuaded to come and join us - and some existing applicants have already increased their investment – the target may be lower, but we still have to get there!
Note that in order to make sure that we strictly comply with the terms of our share offer document, we will be seeking members approval at the end of the share offer period to proceed with the lower amount – we’d be surprised if anybody objected, however!
Today we started the process of pre-ordering the boiler to make sure that everything’s ready for installation as soon as possible after the share offer concludes. We can’t pay a deposit until that point, but somewhere in Austria the manufacturer is getting their tools together to build our first boiler – an exciting moment.
Meanwhile the share dial is moving upwards again, although summer-break slowly! We are absolutely committed to have as many members as possible and spread out the ownership and benefits of the project. If you have already applied for shares, now is a good time to make sure anyone you know who may want some gets their application in. If you’ve not got a copy of our share offer document yet, please send us your details and we’ll get one out in the post, or download it from this website. If you are still mulling it over, it would definitely give us a big lift if you were to take the plunge soon.
Despite the late start in promoting our share offer, we managed to get halfway to our target in 5 weeks, raising £153,400 so far from 87 prospective members – already a new record for a Sharenergy project despite competition from some other big co-op share offers out there. As we’ve had such a good response we have decided to extend the share offer as provided for in the share offer document. August is perhaps not the best month to be promoting anything so we’re going to extend until the end of September – midnight on 28 September 2012 to be exact. In the interim we are arranging bridging finance so we can get on with our first install as soon as possible – and before it gets really cold! We’re afraid that existing applicants will now have to wait a little longer for their share certificates - and those who have kindly lent us development funds will have to wait a bit longer for repayment, although many of them have simply opted to have their loan repayment recycled into shares – thank you.
The share offer continues to have a huge amount of interest – over £24,000 worth of investment today! We’ll definitely be extending the share offer period so that more people have a chance to join the 76 prospective members we have so far. The exact timing and terms will be decided at the next Board meeting on Wednesday – in the interim we are of course still accepting applications – and existing members can increase share application amount if desired.
After a very slow start membership applications are starting to come in thick and fast. There is one week to go until the deadline. We want to get on with the installation as soon as possible – so if anybody’s still thinking about it, please send in your forms by Friday and join us.