Fantastic News! Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society (SHCBS) have been awarded a grant of £20,000 from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) to kick start the development of the 100kW hydro power plant at Staverton Leat.

SHCBS will use the grant to do a feasibility study and look at the potential of the hydro scheme on the River Dart. Potentially, the electricity generated by the scheme will be supplied to and used by the Dartington Hall Trust Estate.
This has historical significance, as the Estate’s (and Staverton village’s) first electricity supply was generated from a hydro plant in the same location. The original plant, developed by Leonard Elmhirst, was in operation from 1930 until the early 70’s. Jo Talling, Property Director for The Dartington Hall Trust, remarked that she was ‘excited about exploring the project, working with Tresoc and the wider community to make the estate more resilient and reduce our carbon emissions. The project also speaks to our history as well as to Dartington’s new strategy.’ Roger Papworth, RCEF Programme Manager commented that ‘The Rural Community Energy Fund were please to award a Grant to Staverton Hydro as this is a great example of a community group investigating renewable energy options that the fund aims to support. If successful the project will not only re-establish an historical hydro facility but benefits will be shared across the wider community. We look forward to hearing of a positive outcome once this work has been completed’.

SHCBS has been set up by Tresoc specifically to develop the Staverton Hydro project. It was necessary to establish SHCBS as a separate company because of the terms of the loan agreement that Tresoc has with Charity Bank. The scheme will be developed with Tresoc’s engineering partner Hydrosense, who previously developed the 300kW hydro power plant at Totnes Weir. The construction of the scheme will be financed in a similar way to Totnes Weir, by raising community money through a share offer.
The local community are invited to several public meetings to discuss the project, which are planned to take place in late June and July. Furthermore, Tresoc will be inviting local residents to take part in a ‘walk & talk’, which will allow them to visit the site, that is on private land, and to ask questions about the project informally. Some of the grant money will also be used to fund Tresoc’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning (REEL) Project with St Christopher’s of Staverton … read on for more info

RCEF Grant Bid for Anaerobic Digester at Parsonage Farm, Dartington

Tresoc are in the process of submitting another grant application to RCEF to assess the feasibility of a 70KW Anaerobic Digester at Parsonage Farm, on the Dartington Estate. The plant would process farm waste products, such as slurry, and food wastes from the restaurants on the Dartington Estate, converting methane (one of the most potent greenhouse gasses) to electricity, heat and carbon-dioxide. Potentially, the electricity will be sold to the farmer and the Dartington Hall Trust (DHT), and the heat will be used by DHT in the local campsite showers.