105 children from years 5 and 6 at the Grove school in Totnes have taken part in TRESOC’s two-day Renewable Energy Experiential Learning (REEL) Programme. Day one was a field trip to Marley Head Wind Turbine, Marley Thatch Solar Farm and Totnes Weir Hydro. On day two (which we ran three times as there were so many children), we ran three workshops: in electronics, where children experimented with lemon batteries, mini solar panels, LEDs and multi-meters; in wind, where the children built vertical axis wind turbines out of recycled cardboard; and hydro, where children were asked to make a prototype for an Archimedes screw the way Archimedes intended – to move water uphill. They were given the materials and left to get on with it. Amazingly, several of the groups were able to complete the task with no help. Not sure how many adults would have been able to do this! The school were delighted with the project. Class teacher Miss Pearce commented that the project was amazing as all the children were totally engaged, and class teacher Mr Goud, thought the field trip really enhanced the learning experience.
The programme was enabled by a grant from the Chacegrove Family Foundation and delivered to the school for free. TRESOC is very grateful to them for their support and belief in the project.
Lemon battery success!
Testing a solar circuit
Making Archimedes screws at the Grove
TRESOC is also thankful to all the individuals and companies that collaborated on the project, including: South Brent Community Energy Society, Dart Renewables Ltd, Fisktek, RES, Quintas, Octopus Energy and TRESOC Volunteer Max Faircloth. TRESOC is incredibly lucky that so many local companies see the importance of educating the next generation about decentralised renewable energy and are happy to give up their time to make this happen.
Sally was interviewed on the Full Totnes Breakfast Radio Show on Soundart Radio on Friday September 18th: you can listen to it here. Sally talks about existing projects as well as those in development: the proposed solar PV installation at Transition Homes’ eco-social housing development at Clay Park in Dartington, and the possibility of creating an Energy Local Club. The interview starts 12 mins 40secs in if you don’t want to listen to the whole show.
In August, Ian was interviewed by the hosts of the On The Land And Water Radio Show, a new magazine programme on local station Soundart Radio with an interest in, you guessed it, land and water. He was talking about the Archimedes Screw at the weir on the River Dart, as well as possible new projects. Some of the interview will be broadcast in subsequent shows, but the bulk of the conversation is available to listen to here. Ian starts 55mins in, but the rest of the show is well worth a listen. (There is a scrollbar at the bottom of the screen that can take you straight to Ian.)
This September and October, Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) and Transition Homes Community Land Trust (THCLT) will be holding a series of free public events. These will be part of TRESOC’s feasibility study into the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) array plus on-site battery storage and electric vehicle charging points at THCLT’s 31-home Clay Park development. Please note the Focus Groups are for people interested in becoming residents of Clay Park only – if this is you contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for events, please email Sally on email@example.com.
As it is Community Energy Fortnight, we are delighted to announce that residents at Transition Homes’ housing development at Clay Park in Dartington could benefit from their own supply of affordable green energy, thanks to funding awarded by the South West Energy Hub in partnership with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
Working with Transition Homes Community Land Trust (THCLT), TRESOC has been awarded a Rural Community Energy Fund grant of almost £30,000. The funding will be used to carry out a feasibility study into the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) array plus on-site battery storage and electric vehicle charging points at the 31-home Clay Park development.
If the study proves successful, a micro-grid will be set up to supply the site, taking renewable solar energy direct to residents at a below-market rate. It is estimated that the PV array could generate 180,000 kWh of energy, worth nearly £30,000 a year*, on which residents will save approximately 10%. As well as improving local energy resilience, this would save an estimated 45 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Our vision is to create a dynamic, highly prosperous region with high living standards and an outstanding quality of life, and clean energy is an important theme running through our activity, so I’m pleased that the South West Energy Hub has awarded this feasibility grant.
“The scheme could not only help to improve quality of life for local people on lower incomes, but also make an important contribution to tackling the climate emergency. We look forward to hearing the results of the study.”
Sally Murrall-Smith, TRESOC’s Operations Manager said, “The grant, worth £29,156, will be used to evaluate the economic viability of the scheme, design the system, determine the best technology mix, and cover organisational and legal costs, community engagement and project management.”
“We’re delighted that TRESOC has been successful with this grant bid, and we are looking forward to working with them,” added THCLT Project Coordinator Nicola Lang. “Delivering the PV array and micro-grid system will help us to reduce the environmental impact of the homes at Clay Park while making it more affordable for residents and supporting the local economy.”
THCLT has planning permission for 31 highly energy-efficient eco-homes at the progressive Clay Park development in Dartington, offering a choice of affordable rent or shared ownership for local people in housing need. It has invited TRESOC to become the energy supplier, and to own and operate the system.
TRESOC intends to raise the capital to install the solar PV panels, microgrid, and operating system, estimated to cost £180,000, through a community share-offer. Clay Park residents will be able to purchase shares in the scheme if they so wish. Interest from the income to TRESOC will be distributed to local shareholders, strengthening the local economy, while boosting employment via local procurement rules. TRESOC will also develop an ongoing renewable energy education programme in partnership with local schools and Clay Park residents.
The feasibility grant was provided by the Rural Community Energy Fund, a government scheme administered by the South West Energy Hub in partnership with Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the South West Energy Hub said: “This innovative scheme is a great example of how developing local green energy can bring a wide range of economic and community benefits at the same time as helping tackle the climate emergency. We are really pleased to be able to award this grant funding to TRESOC and hope that other local communities will be inspired to follow their example.”
Part of the funding has been allocated to a community engagement programme to run alongside the study. This will comprise:
- Four Walk & Talk (site visits) during the first week in September, exploring the site and giving an opportunity to ask questions in an informal manner. These will be open to general public and be timetabled at weekends and during weekdays to make it easier for people to attend. Children welcome and there will be child-friendly activities on site so parents can give their attention to the tour
- Focus groups in mid-September. For people interested in living at Clay Park
- An evening talk at the end of September outlining the results of the study so far. This will be open to the general public
If you are interested in attending any of the events, please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Addendum: Sally, our Operations Manager, was interviewed about the Clay Park grant on BBC Radio Devon on 24.06.20. You can listen to the broadcast here.
TRESOC are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Finance Director, Dominic Turner of Staverton. Dom studied International Relations and Economics at George Washington University and received an MBA from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has worked in several multinational banks including Citigroup, HSBC and UBS Pactual in New York, São Paulo and London. Dominic has also worked on several start-ups in Brazil and is currently a partner in a Devon-based technology firm. Dom says, “I moved to Devon from Brazil just three years ago and live here with my wife and two, frankly amazing, young daughters. I’m new to the renewable energy industry but hope to bring the enthusiasm of a convert.”
As well as working for TRESOC, Dom has taken on the role of Finance Director for Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society. We are delighted to be working with him and look forward to exciting new ventures during these epoch-setting times.
TRESOC have been invited by Transition Homes Community Land Trust to own, install and operate 180kW of solar PV on their Clay Park Eco-Housing Development. TRESOC will become the energy supplier for the mini-grid providing the site with 100% green electricity. We will be submitting a development grant to the Rural Communities Energy Fund in December to bring the project to financial closure. Once the scheme is investment ready, in July 2020, TRESOC will release a community share-offer to finance it. Please sign up to the Friends of TRESOC mailing list for updates, by emailing email@example.com.