“TRESOC – a new type of community renewables company… a business that should be funded… TRESOC may enable Totnes to become one of the first towns to operate its own independent generation and energy retailing company supplying local homes and businesses with ‘local’ electricity” – Chris Goodall, Carbon Commentary
Hooray, we are Best Community Initiative, 2015!
Tresoc is the winner of the RegenSW’s 2015 South West Green Energy Award for the Best Community Initiative. “As judges, we are impressed by the dedication and achievements of community led energy initiatives, an area showing substantial growth and momentum across the country and particularly here in the South West. This is an ambitious movement that is increasingly showing it can deliver. The year’s winner has an excellent balance of community engagement with local residents and has developed an innovative partnership model with a housing association and local installer.
It has successfully installed solar PV on social housing, to provide power to local households and reduce their electricity bills significantly. Please can I invite onto the stage the winner of the 2015 South West Green Energy Award for the Best Community Initiative: TRESOC”
– Emma Bridge, Community Energy England, lead judge
“Winning the “Best Community Initiative” in the South West is a great compliment that you and the entire TRESOC team richly deserve for your passionate desire to develop green energy opportunities in and around Totnes.”
– Ian Alexander, Charity Bank
Tresoc to make an operating profit in 2016
Tresoc’s AGM will take place on Wednesday, December 2nd, 7pm at St John’s Church, Bridgetown, TQ9 5AJ. ALL WELCOME. See what your investment has helped to achieve and what we’ll be doing next year. Shine 1 and 2 were completed by late summer, Shine 3 has launched – solar on 15 additional properties will be registered before FIT payment rates are reduced in January. The purchase of Hatchlands array is moving towards completion and we’re lining up hydro projects to give us excellent prospects for future growth. Here’s our 2015 AGM agenda and Directors’ Report. Highlights:
- Member interest announcement
- Guest speakers: Dr John Green, new Green District Councillor & Dan Hird, Head of Corporate Finance, Triodos Bank
- Policy Director Olly Frankland’s quick guide to recent Government actions
- Engineering Director Alastair Gets unveils our new data monitoring platform (working with local company, Argand Solutions)
- Beer from New Lion Brewery
Totnes is a community investment hotspot
In Ethex’s 2015 Positive Investing Report, South Devon came fifth nationally for community investment with Totnes accounting for more than half of that with Tresoc’s share capital and Totnes Weir hydro bond investment. We are a community who puts its money where its mouth is! Yay! Nationally this past year, 75 new share offers raided £36m, bringing the total invested to £157m, a growth of 29%.
Time to stand up and be counted
On 29 November, the day before world leaders converge for the UN climate summit in Paris, people will come together again in the streets for the global People’s Climate March. Plymouth Energy Community has set up a ‘Stand up for Community Energy’ bloc and hopes to convene as many community energy groups as possible. They have set up a Facebook event for this (called ‘Stand up for community energy bloc @People’s Climate March), its linked to the main Facebook event page (and Friends of the Earth are adding it to the ‘bloc’ section of the new event website: http://climatejusticejobs.org.uk/.) Details on where to meet other groups prior to the march to follow… They have arranged a coach from Plymouth to London (with pick up/drop off at Exeter Services) for £25 per person return. Page on their website for info and booking is here: http://www.plymouthenergycommunity.com/events/peoples-climate-march.
Is community energy an inconvenience?
Regen’s excellent SW Community Energy Day of Action on 16th October triggered 30 meetings between community energy groups and businesses in the South West and their MPs. A full list is available here. Community Energy England’s new report contains some excellent facts and figures, available here. For instance, of the £58 million in investment lined up over the next 2 years, £45 million is at risk from FIT review changes and of the £180 million intended for investment in renewable energy in the medium term, 90% now unlikely to go ahead. This has been picked up in the Guardian and regional press. Tresoc MD, Ian Bright was quoted in Tuesday’s Western Morning News: “… it rather feels as if the Government is actively promoting nuclear and fracking and considers us an inconvenience”.
The FIT review consultation period closes on 23 October and we’ll see if anyone’s listening. We can only hope that local government thinks for itself.
Tresoc shortlisted for Awards
The shortlist for Community Energy England’s Community Energy Awards is actually quite a long list, but we’re on it, yay! The awards this year will take place in Oxford on 5th September, following the Community Energy Conference 2015, “New Government, New Dawn” as part of Community Energy Fortnight, 5th-20th September.
The conference is free to attend (including lunch and refreshments) to ensure that as many communities as possible can participate in the speaker and interactive sessions. You can book here. The Awards shortlist is an impressive group of practitioners who are contributing significantly to the sector, so whether we win or not, you may like to consider attending to learn more and show your support; it’s also free; you can book here.
Clean Energy For All – Yes!
Governments and policies change, but the crisis of our times around energy and the environment is real and urgent. Thanks to everyone for contributing so enthusiastically to our interactive event on 23rd July. Lots of conversations about clean, green energy and the community’s part in producing, owning and managing it – specifically around 1) the papal message on “care for our common home”, 2) big picture renewables changes, 3) what local gov is doing, 4) making community energy work on the ground 5) future project types, and 6) educational opportunities at Totnes Weir. It was a fun couple of hours, thanks to Hal Gillmore of the REconomy Centre, exploring where we stand – in this moment here in the UK – with another winter of fuel bills on its way. Outcomes include a multi-faith event in the autumn dedicated to the encyclical, urgent correspondence with local MPs, an offer to keep the Weir area tidy, an idea for a generating play park… more on this soon!
Here’s an interesting pdf from Climate Outreach & Information Network (COIN) about framing language about climate change to mobilise activity across the world’s 5 faith groups: COIN-Our-Voices-4 pages – June-2015
Cheaper bills for tenants – 27 homes installed with solar
We are currently visiting SDRHA tenants whose systems are up and running, explaining how to make the most of the free electricity they are getting, whilst managing the process of making appointments and scheduling installations.
“A number of tenants have commented to me how pleased they are with their new solar panels, and think it’s a great idea to install solar panels on as many properties as possible. They are particularly excited about receiving reduced fuel bills, which also meets one of SDR’s objectives of supporting our tenants to reduce fuel poverty” – Francis Bourke, SDR Operations Director
Watch this 3 minute video – we’re working in partnership to install arrays on tenants’ roofs from Exeter to Plymouth.
Totnes Weir hydro – £1.3m target reached
Fantastic news! Dart Renewables Bond Issue raised £1.3m and has now closed.
The Dart Renewables 2015 bond issue to raise capital to finance completion of this iconic Totnes hydro scheme closed ahead of schedule as the target total of £1.3m was reached with 9 days to go. About a fifth of the funds raised came from local investment. Congratulations to Dart Renewables, who have worked diligently on the project for many years.
SHINE project kicks off
We’ve started our SHINE project… solar PV on the roofs of 77 social housing homes across the region, from Plymouth to Exeter, concentrated in Totnes and Dartington. Expected annual generation 270,000 kWh. Savings for SDRHA residents approx. £40,000 per year. C02 equivalent 121 tonnes per year. NOW GENERATING! – the array on Devon Rural Housing Association’s HQ, also home to the Totnes Work Hub. Lower electricity bills for tenants! The SHINE project launched on Friday 27th March.