“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
The First Ever Archimedes Screw Festival
Science: Join Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) river scientists to look at the salmon’s “eco home”. Simple testing kits will enable you to take measurements and look at ecological status of the Dart. Join hundreds of other Citizen Scientists in the region – sign up with WRT to become a River Dart steward.
Art: Celebrate the Dart – make a silver salmon and add it to a giant community shoal.
Energy: Hydro scheme tours at 12 noon and 3pm with Tresoc’s Alastair Gets, Director of Engineering – see inside the working plant. Find out about Tresoc’s new hydro project at Staverton Leat.
Join in: Share your own Tales of the Riverbank. Help us design a permanent sign to explain more about the scheme – what do you want to know? Participate in a clean-up along the river.
If you work up an appetite: Taste Archimedes’ favourite Sicilian snack, arancini – on sale from 12:30pm, while supplies last!
The festival is part of Transition Town Totnes’ Open Eco Homes weekend. From the traditional to the unconventional, the tour highlights inspiring homes at different stages on the journey to reducing their energy bills and environmental impact.
Time to listen to what people want?
Community Energy retains overwhelming backing of UK public and increased support among Conservative voters, survey finds.
An overwhelming majority of the public would support local renewable energy projects, including wind turbines, if they were owned and controlled by the community, according to new research from Co-operative Energy. This includes not just Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party supporters, but also those who identify with the Conservative Party.
More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of the 2,000 UK adults polled said they would support local community-owned renewable energy projects such as wind turbines, with just 8% in opposition. Support among Conservative voters increased from 62% in 2015 to 65% in 2016.
A staggering 78 per cent of the public thought that the Government should do more ‘to help local communities generate their own energy, with profits staying in the area’. Just 6 percent opposed this. Again, support among Conservative voters increased, from 73% in 2015 to 76% in 2016.
The findings directly challenge the Government’s recent decisions to slash subsidies for small, local renewable energy schemes and to bar investors from access to social investment tax relief. Two-thirds (68%) of respondents say that they are prepared to pay a small surcharge each year on their energy bill to fund an expansion of community energy, with just 15% opposing this. While 58% believe that the Government should change its mind and once again offer tax relief to those individuals who take the risk of investing in community energy, with just 12% against. Backing for these measures was higher still among Conservative supporters.
The Energy Potential of Local Food Waste
Caspar Sayany, MEng Renewable Energy student at Exeter Uni student and Tresoc intern, presented his research findings. Caspar interviewed 49 businesses in Totnes and found they produce 164 tonnes of food waste per year, or 3,161kg/week. The UK’s millions of tonnes of unavoidable food waste, like peelings and apple cores, has costs – energy, money, space, time, smell and environmental. Our AD project at Dartington at Old Parsonage Farm will be a great way to recycle nutients and to produce energy. Separating waste will be the challenge…. maybe we can learn from Japan‘s gomi (rubbish) guides: “Trash-related issues could easily become a cause of trouble with your neighbors. To establish a comfortable life for both you and others in the community, it is important to follow local rules for trash collection.”
Take a look at Caspar’s presentation, download it here.
Polish producer Adam Dzienis, filming Caspar, is creating a film to highlight the vital and thriving contribution of co-operative energy across Europe.
Staverton Director sought for BenCom
The newly formed Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society is seeking a Director from Staverton to join its small team. Details of role and responsibilities to follow. For initial enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tresoc dispatches from the community renewable energy frontline
The Tresoc team has been busy lately managing new investments in solar (the roofs of Bidwell Brook School and Lescaze House on the Dartington Estate) and Staverton Leat Hydro, and the Society is on target to make a profit in the current financial year. With all that’s happening its not always easy to keep our patient and loyal members fully informed. Our Managing Director, Ian Bright ventures into the blogosphere to bring you up to date with Tresoc affairs.
Putting our hydro knowledge to good use
We are moving forward with the Staverton Leat Hydro Project, researching the history of the Town Mills hydro plant that was in operation for 40 years, generating electricity for the Dartington Estate. Read the story, it’s a fascinating history! This small-scale, regenerative project will incorporate a single Archimedes turbine. In addition, the project aims to restore the leat walls, which have fallen into disrepair and are threatened by inconsistent water levels. A new fish pass and smoult pass will help up- and down-stream migration of river life.
Totnes Weir Hydro Share Offer reaches the target
Tresoc Members invested just over £300,000 in the iconic 300 kW Totnes Weir hydro power plant. Because the target was reached through local investment, there was no need to open up the share offer to a wider audience—local investment works! Triodos have sent out share certificates. If you missed out on this opportunity, don’t fret, more good things are on the way. We have a working partnership with the Hydrosense consortium, developers of the Totnes weir site, and we are moving forward with a new, local hydro project and more on-roof solar. Get in touch if you’d be interested in investing.
Read more about this Share Offer.
Totnes Weir hydro delivers!
The Totnes Weir hydro plant has been generating electricity since December 2015. It’s two turbines each produce power for KEVICC school and the foundry on the Industrial Estate and the plant is currently over-delivering – from an installed capacity of 300 kW up to 370 kW! Designed to withstand a 100 year flood and the additional impact of high spring tides and increased river levels due to climate change, the scheme has coped admirably with the recent storms we’ve been having.
In the photo, the left turbine is providing power to KEVICC and the right turbine to the Foundry on the Industrial Estate.
AGM Member survey results
Thanks to those members who filled in surveys at our AGM back in December 2015. Here are 3 general findings that support our role in the Community Energy movement:
- Tresoc is raising awareness of the issues surrounding community renewable energy
- Tresoc is seen to act responsibly in its decision-making and actions and is thought to be effectively consulting its members
- Tresoc offers a viable alternative to conventional investing.
The full report can be found here on our Member page (under 02/12/15 AGM) with lots of detail on the 9 questions we asked.
Renewables are undeniably the way forward
The outcome of COP21 is something to celebrate: net-zero human emissions – a balancing of what we release into the air and what is taken out – and when the dust settles and the Paris Agreement is in the hands of lawmakers, clean energy will be the best, cheapest, and most effective way to keep their promise. What else?
- At least $100 billion in finance after 2020 to keep the money for poor countries flowing for decades;
- A promise to meet every five years to increase ambition and move us closer and closer to the day the net-zero world becomes reality; and
- A global agreement that climate change is a world problem, requiring cooperation from Saudi Arabia to Spain to Senegal to deliver a future for this human family.
Most importantly, the mobilization in the face of climate change sends a clear message to investors everywhere: sinking money into fossil fuels is a dead bet. Renewables are the profit centre. Technology to bring us to 100% clean energy is the money-maker of the future.