“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
Tresoc dispatches from the community renewable energy frontline
The Tresoc team has been busy lately managing new investments in solar and hydro power, 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.
What is Tresoc working on now? We are moving forward with the Staverton Leat Hydro Project, researching the history of the hydro plant that was in operation for 40 years inside Town Mills, 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.
We are also working towards another share offer to add solar PV to the roofs of Bidwell Brook School and Lescaze House on the Dartington Estate. More on that soon!
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.
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.