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.
Through 10th September to the 5th October, The Charity Bank is running a Follow The Money campaign [#FollowTheMoney]. Tresoc were delighted to be invited to be a part of this, meeting up with the Charity Bank on the first day of their campaign on a visit to Totnes.
As you may already be aware, The Charity Bank provided a loan to Tresoc during a crucial stage of the society’s development, allowing the solar installation at Hatchlands Farm to get underway and for our solar portfolio to expand. Charity Bank are profiling us in a national campaign to show how Tresoc have developed into a thriving local renewable energy society, with all the benefits this brings to our community.
Read more about how this timely intervention helped Tresoc, with words from our Executive Director, Ian Bright, on the Follow The Money Campaign website.
Thank you to local Tresoc members who were able to turn up and be a part of this occasion.
The 3rd Annual Archimedes Screw Fest
Event date: 6th October 2018
Join us to celebrate the River Dart and its most spectacular new landmark – the twin turbines of the Totnes Weir hydropower scheme.
We’ll be celebrating the many ways we all care for the River Dart – we support clean energy, make art, write poetry, stop plastic getting in to it, learn about biodiversity, become citizen scientists, notice problems, track and log wildlife, swim, boat and fish considerately…
Rain or shine there’ll be loads of fun activities going on all day …
- Turbine Tours at 12 noon and 3pm
- Eureka! Meet Archimedes in person
- Citizen Science and rivers bugs with Westcountry Rivers Trust
- Renewable energy technology workshops for primary children with REEL
- Join in with the “Plastic Free Salmon” art project
- Find out about Bio-Regional Learning Centre’s pilot Dart Charter on the Dartington Estate
- Learn about more community energy investment opportunities from TRESOC
- Yummy arancini (Archimedes favourite snack) from The Kitchen Table
The Screw Fest is Tour Stop #4 on Transition Town Totnes’ Eco Homes Weekend trail.
How to get there
The site is accessible via foot- and cycle-path from Totnes to Dartington – it’s about half a mile upstream of Totnes town centre. It’s a lovely easy walk on flat ground. No parking nearby.
Hope to see you …
The TRESOC Team.
We were overwhelmed by the support for the transition to a permanently open share-offer. We received 120 ‘yes’ votes and no ‘no’ votes. Voting closed on Saturday 1st September.
A move to a permanently open share-offer would give our members quicker access to their money, by removing the 3 year minimum investment period, and enable us to accept new members at any time – bringing in cash to develop new projects as they arise and more projects being installed.
Co-operatives UK have launched a Share-Booster programme to encourage best practice and innovation in the community shares market. Most community share-offers are time-bound, for example, standard practice is to hold the investment for a minimum of 3 years with a notice period of 180 days. The Co-op believe that established societies should ideally be making open offers, as a principal way of maintaining membership and share liquidity. And we believe it’s time for Tresoc to innovate in this way too.
Changing the society rules requires a significant amount of legal work. Co-operatives UK are currently providing grants of up to £10k to do this and launch new open-share offers. We’ve already applied for the grant which has been provisionally awarded. However, in order to draw down the money we need to provide the signed heads of terms agreements for the new solar installations we are proposing. So it is all taking much longer than we anticipated, and the ‘spring solar share offer’ that became the ‘summer solar share-offer’, might even become the ‘autumn solar share-offer’. However, it is well worth waiting for because it will now include more roof top solar pv on community buildings and the re-financing of the Charity Bank loan (that we took out to purchase the 50kW Hatchlands Array).
A move to a permanently open share-offer and to make these beneficial changes to the society rules required a member vote. For it to be valid, we needed a quorum, which was 50 people.
The Second Annual Archimedes Screw Fest at Totnes Weir on the River Dart on Saturday October 7th, 11am – 4pm. Free
Turbine tours by Alastair Gets of TRESOC at 12 noon & 3pm
• Meet Archimedes!
• River science all day with Westcountry Rivers Trust – bring the grandkids
• Sign up to become a Riverkeeper – a steward of the River Dart
• Delicious veg-filled arancini to eat, from The Kitchen Table
The Screw Fest is back!
• If you missed the tours last year, join us on the 7th and see your investment at work producing clean electricity for KEVICC & the foundry.
• If you came on a tour last year, please suggest to a friend that they come along this year.
You are part of a success story:
• The turbines have been cranking since they began generating electricity in December 2015. The plant has been performing ahead of expectations.
• The recreational area created near the turbine house was very popular over the summer – local people love it!
• The Renewable Energy Experiential Learning pilot with St Christopher’s school saw a class of students hearing how the turbines work, designing their own water-moving devices and making water wheels from sticks and leaves at the river’s edge – shoes and socks off, feet in the water! If you missed it, here’s the link to the film – please share it.
• The canoe launch platform was also much-used by kayakers and swimmers
• The automatic fish counter has tracked 100’s of fish and the fish pass has been welcomed by Westcountry Rivers Trust as truly “best practice.”
More good news:
• Staverton Hydro….. learn all about this new investment opportunity…..
Looking forward to seeing you on the 7th – rain or shine.
The Screw Fest is part of:
Open Eco-Homes Weekend
Fri 6, Sat 7 and Sun 8 Oct. Free
17 exciting homes and projects open to visit – full details in the programme or get your hard copy from Greenlife, The Mansion, Guildhall or Library, Totnes.
and don’t forget:
Eco & Community Homes Fair
Sat 21 Oct 10.00am to 3.00pm, Totnes Civic Hall. Free