Communications Director Job Advert

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) is a local sustainable community energy company. We have a portfolio of renewable energy projects stretching from Plymouth to Exeter, our most recent project being Totnes Weir. In 2015, TRESOC was awarded RegenSW’s ‘South West Green Energy Award for the Best Community Initiative’ for the Shine Project. Working with South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDRHA), Tresoc installed solar pv on 42 properties, which means cheaper fuel bills for residents.

We are currently developing 300 kW of new solar projects, a 100kW hydro electric power plant at Staverton Leat and a 70kW Anaerobic Digester at Old Parsonage Farm Dartington. This year we have received two RCEF grants for £19k & £18K to progress the Hydro and AD projects and are working in close partnership with the Dartington Estate.

Early this year Tresoc launched its Renewable Energy Experiential Learning (REEL) education programme for primary schools, which has also been nominated for a Regen award. Our aim is to gradually offer the REEL programme to all local primary schools, as and when we raise funds.

We are looking to grow our team and have an opportunity for a passionate and enthusiastic part time communications director. The role is flexible and can be generally done remotely, with the exception of monthly board meetings (these are usually held between 7-9 on a Tuesday night) and occasional team meetings. The role is currently approx. 10 hours per month for a salary of £200. However, we are an expanding company and the role will grow over time.

Job description – Facilitate the promotion of community share-offers. Working with a team of committed professional on a part time basis. We are able to offer a modest hourly rate.
Duties include – Members newsletters, PR and branding.
Promote the work of Tresoc through press and social media (manage website content, facebook, twitter). Maintain & improve communications with members and supporters and produce member’s and friends’ communications – monthly newsletter (MailChimp). Grow local and national database of PR contacts. Develop Tresoc brand, create guidelines ‘what we do & who we are’ & ‘how we talk about it’. Assist with marketing around share-offers. Organise and address AGM.

To apply please send a CV to admin@tresoc.co.uk. Closing Date 12th October.

Staverton Walk & Talk

Join a guided walk and talk this August!

Tresoc invites you to join a guided walk and talk of the Staverton Leat and proposed Hydro project site, on the following dates:

Thursday, 10th August 11am-1pm

Saturday, 12th August 11am-1pm

Tuesday, 15th August 2pm-4pm

Please contact Tresoc to register, email admin@tresoc.co.uk or call 01803867431. 

Find out how Tresoc and partners are working together to help restore the Staverton Leat and how the proposed 100kW hydro scheme will supply electricity to The Dartington Hall Trust, (as originally was the case in the 1930s). Learn more on our Staverton Hydro project page.

£20K award to develop Staverton hydro scheme

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.

‘REEL’ programme – St Christopher’s Pilot Project

Renewable Energy Experiential Learning (REEL) Programme –

‘Making Local Renewable Energy.’

Key Stage 2 Experiential Learning

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (Tresoc) has launched its ‘Renewable Energy Experiential Learning’ (REEL) programme, co-designed with The Bioregional Learning Centre to stimulate learning in local primary schools about renewable energy technologies and wider energy issues.

The programme’s intent is to bring relevance to energy generation by introducing the students to the hydro, solar and wind schemes that are right on their doorstep, generating electricity for local people.  It brings experts into the school environment – local organisations and businesses who specialize in technology, investment, sustainability, ecology, learning and sharing, including Hydrosense, Fishtek, Beco Solar, Regen, South Brent Community Energy Society and Dartington Hall Trust.

REEL kicks off with a 3-week pilot project for Key Stage 2 students at St Christopher’s Prep School Staverton that includes student-led critical thinking around our global need for energy, a making day to creatively explore the challenge of moving water uphill, building simple Archimedes screws as an exercise in cooperation and site visits to see the real technologies in action.  At the end of the programme the students will present what they have learned to family and friends.

Tresoc and The Bioregional Learning Centre will build in feedback from participants in the pilot project to develop the programme.  Our aim is to offer the REEL project to all the primary schools in the Totnes area and eventually extend it to key-stage 1, as well as key-stage 2. We believe that it is imperative we equip the coming generations with an understanding of renewable energy technologies, as these technologies will play a pivotal role in a low carbon future. Educating children about the potential of renewable energy technologies also gives them tangible way they can make a difference, when so many messages about climate change are disempowering.

Tresoc also hopes to be able to assist local schools to install solar panels that can help normalise renewable energy, raise awareness and be used as a teaching aid.

Overview of Pilot

School St. Christopher’s Primary School, Staverton, near Totnes.
Date June 2017
Skills Good listening, clear thinking, empathy.
Partner The Bio-regional Learning Centre.

Tresoc were able to make a short film about the great work we have been doing in the REEL project; thanks to a donation from an anonymous supporter. This will help to show potential sponsors and schools what the project is all about.

We are very pleased with the film and extremely grateful to Emilio from nu-project who produced it, to the Bio-Regional Learning Centre, who helped us design and deliver the project, to St Christopher’s Prep School for taking part in the pilot and also to all the people who contributed time and skills – Pete Kibble and FishTek, Owen Griffiths and BECO, South Brent Community Energy Society, Dartington Hall Trust, Chloe Udon and Jodie Giles and REGEN.

Please help us to publicise the project and share the video.

Isabel Carlisle of The Bioregional Learning Centre says:

“Sustainability is a very abstract idea to most children. Our goal with this project is to bring it home… we will share one jug of ‘oil’ between all the students who are imagining themselves as ‘objects’ with energy needs – we’ll see how far it goes!”

Head of St Christopher’s, Victoria Kennington, comments:

“We are very excited to be part of the REEL pilot project at St Christopher’s as we look to increase STEM opportunities – education in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics – for our pupils. Year 6 are looking forward to using their Science and Design and Technology skills over the course of this three week programme and learning more about the renewable energy projects in their neighbourhood.”

Dr. Sally Murrall-Smith of Tresoc adds:

“According to the Campaign for Science and Engineering, the annual shortfall of STEM skills in the workforce is 40,000. The REEL project seeks to encourage the development of STEM skills in young people, of both sexes, particularly through the development of spacial skills which are largely overlooked in our current education system, but closely linked to scientific ability.”

Jane Brady of The Bioregional Learning Centre, comments, “We have a unique mix of innovative businesses and entrepreneurs looking at new livelihoods in and around Totnes.  This project brings together that creativity in the context of renewable energy to inspire young people to see what’s all around them and why South Devon is a great place to be.  We would be delighted if any local investors would like to help us create a fund to help us evolve the REEL programme.”

So far, the REEL project has been funded by a donation and the RCEF grant that we received for Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society. We now wish to continue the work and are exploring other funding options. One of these is to set up a fund. It costs about £1000 per school to run the project. Any ideas or contributions would be gratefully received.

Lescaze Solar Array

Listed 30s building goes solar in local partnership.
William Lescaze offices have new 30kW solar PV array.

A new 30kW solar-PV array has been put on the roof of the Lescaze Offices in Dartington village to provide renewable electricity.

The Dartington Hall Trust invested £35,000 in Totnes Renewable Energy Society shares to provide the funds needed to invest in the array. TRESOC worked with local renewable energy company Beco Energy Ltd to deliver the project in Dartington village. The solar array, carefully hidden from view on the Lescaze Offices roof was completed in late November.

Due to the Grade II listed status of the modernist flat-roofed building, which was designed by Swiss American architect William Lescaze in the 1920s (with additions in 1936), listed building consent was needed as well as planning consent from South Hams District Council.

The consent required the array to be invisible from ground view so the array is set back from the roof edge on a Flamco Falx mounting system using ballast that maintains the roof integrity. The Qcell 280 Wp modules will deliver around 21,000 kWh of green electricity annually and reduce the building’s carbon dioxide emissions by 11.48 tonnes a year.

TRESOC will provide electricity to the Trust at a reduced rate.

Karen Williams, chief operating officer of The Dartington Hall Trust, says: ‘It’s great to be working with TRESOC on the Lescaze project, by providing equity investment through our SEEDbed programme we have been able to secure a renewable energy supply for one of our buildings as well as being able to provide targeted enterprise support for a valued community organisation through our SEEDbed incubator programme.

Ian Bright, managing director, TRESOC, says: ‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Dartington to produce low cost green electricity for key stakeholders, high value employment in local businesses and a sustainable financial return on local community investment.’

David Inscoe, managing director, Beco Energy Ltd, says: ‘We have delivered many projects with TRESOC, from social housing to commercial roof top projects, and are delighted to have delivered another success.

To fund the project, the Trust made an equity investment of £35,000 in TRESOC through its SEEDbed programme. This follows on from the Trust’s investment of 20K in 2014, and £200 as a corporate member when TRESOC was founded in 2010. TRESOC will maintain the array with the specialist monitoring services of Argand Solutions.

[Press release provide by The Dartington Hall Trust, 2017]

Community Energy Study Tour – Brussels

Tresoc Managing Director, Ian Bright joined Regen SW and colleagues from South West England, London, Manchester & Wales in Brussels, December 2016. Part of a community energy study tour, they met with Molly Scott Cato, MP at the European Parliament.

Community energy is becoming a major player in the development of renewable energy infrastructure, delivering clean green energy and sustainable local economies across Europe and beyond. Cheaper than new gas or nuclear now too!

The President of the REScoop-eu, Dirk Vansintjan, gave this presentation on ‘Moving Towards Energy Democracy.’

 

The World’s First Ever Archimedes Screw Fest

On Saturday, October 15th 2016 the first ever Archimedes Screw Fest took place at the Hydro Power Station on Totnes Weir.

The event marked the Hydro Station’s first birthday and a year of green electricity generation.

There were several family activities running throughout the day providing an opportunity to learn first-hand about the local ecosystem and the amazing renewable energy source right on our doorstep. Tresoc’s Director of Engineering, Alastair Gets, led tours/talks around the site throughout the day, which included a close up inspection inside the plant and of the fish pass.

Jane Brady, as Director of Communications, has been working to deliver an information signage board for the site. Part of the day’s event invited visitors to add their comments and preferences to how that sign could take form. Stories and knowledge of the River Dart were shared, whilst children crafted salmon shapes that then were woven into a hand-made fish net. The inspiration continued, as the net went on to take residence at St John’s primary school for future class lessons of a river focus. Citizen scientists could also sign up to become active members of the community taking care of the health and future of the river ecosystem; with the WestCountry Rivers Trust on hand to respond to queries about the River Dart. The Totnes Rubbish group led a volunteer litter pick along the river walk to the Weir.

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Sadly, Archimedes, the man who pioneered the screw technology, was not able to join us on the day; [reported to have had a cold from staying in the bath far too long]. Instead, we sampled his favourite dish, arancini (provided by the Kitchen Table), in his honor.

Tresoc worked in collaboration with Dart Renewables, the Hydrosense consortium and Triodos bank during the development of the weir and launched an exclusive share offer to its members earlier this year, helping to secure local community investment in its local renewable resource.

Tresoc is now developing Staverton Leat Hydro in partnership with Hydrosense, The Dartington Hall Trust and Triodos Bank. There will be more on this at the upcoming AGM on November 30th, when guest speaker, Karen Williams, the Chief Operating Officer of the Trust, joins the evening to talk about working in partnership with Tresoc.

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Thanks to Landustrie and Dart Renewables Ltd, who sponsored the Archimedes Screw Fest, and to all those who joined us at the weir and made the day so special. Archimedes Screw Fest was part was part of TTT Open Eco Homes weekend.

The First Ever Archimedes Screw Fest

TRESOC is hosting The First Ever Archimedes Screw Festival at Totnes Weir on the River Dart on Saturday, 15 October, 2016, 11am – 4pm.

Science: Join Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) river scientists to look at the salmon’s “eco home”. Simple testing kits will enable you to take measurements and look at ecological status of the Dart. Join hundreds of other Citizen Scientists in the region – sign up with WRT to become a River Dart steward.
Art: Celebrate the Dart – make a silver salmon and add it to a giant community shoal.
Energy: Hydro scheme tours at 12 noon and 3pm with Tresoc’s Alastair Gets, Director of Engineering – see inside the working plant. Find out about Tresoc’s new hydro project at Staverton Leat.
Join in: Share your own ‘Tales of the Riverbank’. Help us design a permanent sign to explain more about the scheme – what do you want to know? Participate in a clean-up along the river. Totnes Rubbish Walks volunteers will start at Totnes Bridge at 11am, arriving at the weir by noon, continuing along the river, finishing by 1pm.
If you work up an appetite: Taste Archimedes’ favourite Sicilian snack, veg-filled arancini – on sale from 12:30pm, while supplies last, fresh from local food geniuses, The Kitchen Table.

The festival is part of Transition Town Totnes’ Open Eco Homes weekend. From the traditional to the unconventional, the tour highlights inspiring homes at different stages on the journey to reducing their energy bills and environmental impact.

The Energy Potential of Local Food Waste

Caspar Sayany, MEng Renewable Energy student at The University of Exeter and Tresoc intern, recently presented his research findings on the energy potential of local food waste in Totnes.

Caspar interviewed 49 businesses in Totnes and found they produce 164 tonnes of food waste per year, or 3,161kg/week.  The UK’s millions of tonnes of unavoidable food waste, like peelings and apple cores, has costs – energy, money, space, time, smell and environmental.  Our AD project at Dartington at Old Parsonage Farm will be a great way to recycle nutients and to produce energy.

Separating waste will be the challenge…. maybe we can learn from Japan‘s gomi (rubbish) guides: “Trash-related issues could easily become a cause of trouble with your neighbors. To establish a comfortable life for both you and others in the community, it is important to follow local rules for trash collection.”

Take a look at Caspar’s presentation, download it here.

Polish producer Adam Dzienis, filming Caspar, is creating a film to highlight the vital and thriving contribution of co-operative energy across Europe.

Staverton Director sought for BenCom

Following the publishing of this post, a Tresoc Member and resident of Staverton was appointed to the Staverton Hydro BenCom.

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The newly formed Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society is seeking a Director from Staverton to join its small team.  Details of role and responsibilities to follow.  For initial enquiries contact admin@tresoc.co.uk

Putting our hydro knowledge to good use

We are moving forward with the Staverton Leat Hydro Project, researching the history of the Town Mills hydro plant that was in operation for 40 years, 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.

Totnes Hydro Weir 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.