We are delighted to have appointed a new Legal Director and Company Secretary, ratified by the board at our June meeting. Stephanie Burns is a fully qualified solicitor with an impressive CV and nearly 20 years of experience in legal and front office positions in financial institutions in the City of London. She is currently studying for an environmental investment qualification awarded by the CFA Society – the Certificate in ESG Investing – and has set up her own company to pursue a longtime interest in ethical investment. We feel she will be a good fit, and fills out our Board of Directors nicely. Of her appointment, Stephanie says, ‘I was introduced to the concept of sustainable environmental development when working for a Japanese company developing a hotel business in the Micronesian islands. I have a particular interest in responsible investment and embedding strong environmental, social and governance principles into investment decisions and day to day work and am delighted to be able to complement this focus with a hands-on role in the community renewable energy industry.’
Although Stephanie lives in Richmond with her family, she has happy memories of trips to Devon and is looking forward to more to Totnes.
We are sad to say goodbye to Owen Hill, who has been with us since 2010. We are very grateful to him for all that we have achieved together.
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.
The Community Energy Spring Gathering is an open space event hosted by the Devon Community Energy Network, and open to any community energy group. 2020’s two-day, fun-filled residential will take place at the beautiful Dartington Estate and will include walks, talks, fantastic food and collaborative discussion themed around community energy. The event aspires to build a community of practitioners that support each other. By sharing our experiences, learning from each other and building mutual trust and understanding, we hope to gain valuable input and perspectives on the issues that matter to us.
Here are some of the topics we covered last year:
Innovation: local supply and distribution, network innovation, renewable energy generation technologies, project economics and financing, how to raise £ millions, and a secondary market for solar
Consolidation: education and schools, rooftop PV lease-busting, collective action and co-ordination, collective ownership of renewables, fuel poverty and energy advice services, managing your assets more effectively and avoiding risk.
This year’s agenda comprises:
Friday 28th February
9.00 Tea and Coffee
9.30 Welcome and introductions
10.00 Brainstorming to define areas of interest for open sessions
10.30 Open Session 1
13.00 Open Session 2
14.30 Tea and Coffee
15.30 Open Session 3
17.00 Session ends
19.00 Dinner at Waterside Bistro in Totnes
It takes 45 minutes to walk there, bus leaves at 18.05, or taxi takes 10 minutes.
Saturday 29th February
10 – 12.00 Walk along the Dart to Totnes Weir Hydro for Tour
To take part in the day, please book your tickets here.
Sally has been working with Art&Energy CIC to bring TRESOC these day long workshops, where participants will have the chance to:
- get hands on with solar power
- learn how solar panels work
- explore what goes into making one
- handle the tools and components involved
- test their device
At the end of the day participants will be able to take home their own solar panel to charge their devices. All materials are included and no experience is necessary but because of space limitations, the workshops are for adults only. Places are first come first served, so please click on the dates below and book now to avoid disappointment!
The Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society (SHCBS) will be welcoming residents of Staverton Parish and TRESOC members to an update meeting on progress with the Staverton Hydro Project from 7-9pm on Wednesday 31st July at The Courtroom, Staverton.
Although the opportunity to pre-register for FIT payments has now passed there are other routes to realisation of the project in the near term and the SHCBS Board wishes to consult with the local community before taking a decision on how best to proceed. The Staverton Hydro Project is still in the planning process, pending a decision from the Environment Agency on whether to approve the Project. TRESOC and the Fishtek consortium are working closely with the EA on the Reports and Studies required to address concerns raised and we are encouraged by a suggestion from the Agency to work with SHCBS on a profit sharing basis to realise this.
The evening will consist of a short presentation on the current state of play, followed by a discussion where we would like to hear views on the options available for making further progress.
Planning Submitted to Restore Hydro Power to Town Mills, Staverton Leat
On the 10th October Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society [SHCBS] submitted a planning application to South Hams District Council to install a 100 kW Hydro Turbine on the Leat at Staverton. The Lease and Option Agreement has now been signed with the landowners. An application has been made to Historic England for changes to a ‘scheduled ancient monument,’ in order to pass the HV electrical cable under the river bed to Dartington, where a dear park pale is known to be located. The pale is the foundation of the dear park wall, that is thought to have been washed away in a flood and moved to its current location, under the bed of the river. We hope to submit the abstraction licence application in November.
SHCBS was awarded a grant of £20,000 from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) to kickstart the development of a 100kW hydro power plant at Staverton Leat. SHCBS used the grant to carry out a feasibility study and look at the potential of the new hydro scheme on the River Dart to supply electricity to the Dartington Hall Trust Estate. The study included financial modeling to determine the economics of the scheme and environmental monitoring to assess potential impacts. It was concluded that the scheme would be economically viable at a flow rate that was environmentally sensitive.
The Fisheries Impact Assessment concluded that steps can be taken to mitigate all impacts of the scheme on habitat quality. It recommended that a best practice Larinier super-active baffle pass be installed to improve fish and eel passage at the site. The National Rivers Authority deemed the existing fish pass to be far from best practice, only being passable during periods of high discharge. It is more likely that migrating fish pass via the breach in the weir. During the construction of the new fish pass works will be undertaken to repair the damaged weir wall, thus stabilising the river bed above the weir. The migration of salmon and sea trout to upstream spawning grounds has been the key factor influencing the choice of technology at the Leat. Extensive research has demonstrated that fish can pass entirely unharmed through the slowly rotating Archimedes screw turbine, in use at Totnes Weir. Thus, an Archimedes Screw Turbine at the Leat is the obvious choice.
Once the project was deemed economically viable and environmentally sensitive, SHCBS took out a non-recourse loan of £55k, also with RCEF, to fund the development work needed for planning permission and financial closure. The studies included: A Wildlife Report; A structural survey of the leat; A Heritage Statement; A Flood Risk Assessment; Noise Impact Assessment; Landscape and Visual Impact Appraisal; A tree/hedge survey; and, an Archaeology Study. The proposed hydro plant is located in an environmentally sensitive area. The environmental sensitivity of the area is recognised in the studies, with the wildlife report concluding that the development and operation of the scheme would have a low environmental impact due to the design of the plant. Planning permission for the scheme was submitted on the 10th October 2018 and, subject to this SHCBS intends to launch a share and/or bond offer in April/May next year, with construction starting in June/July. Residents of Staverton Parish and members of TRESOC will be given the first opportunity to invest in the scheme, to ensure local community ownership.