A Vote for Innovation

 

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.

 

Learn how to Generate Renewable Energy from Goats Poop!

 ‘Walk & Talks’

Old Parsonage Farm, Dartington
19th September – 1pm / 3.30pm / 5.30pm

…..

Join tenant farmer Jon Perkin and the Tresoc team down on the farm to discover how a 100kW anaerobic digester on the Dartington estate could process farm yard manures with other green materials and food wastes from cafes and restaurants on the Dartington Estate, and turn it into renewable energy.

Free, but you need to register at: info@tresoc.co.uk

Kids very welcome 

The AD plant would generate green, low cost energy for local businesses, increase regional energy security, displace burning of fossil fuels for electricity, use waste products, divert waste from landfill, provide an opportunity for local people to invest locally and directly access the economic benefits, and support local jobs.

How it works

Organic waste materials processed by anaerobic bacteria in a digestion tank on the farm would produce methane gas, which would then be used to generate electricity and heat – a method that is beneficial for the environment. The spent digestate, with valuable plant nutrients, would be used as a clean organic fertiliser on the farm.

The feasibility study has been carried out by Tresoc in partnership with tenant farmer Jon Perkin, of Old Parsonage Farm (home of Dartington Dairy), the Dartington Hall Trust (DHT) and Dr Phil Hobbs of Anaerobic Analytics. Totnes based Argand Solutions has been monitoring the energy demand of Old Parsonage Farm and the wider Dartington Estate, and has determined that an AD plant would work.

Community Energy Fortnight 2018

Community Energy Fortnight 2018

Community Energy Fortnight 2018

The annual Community Energy Fortnight (CEF) is a platform to showcase inspiring examples of communities who are sharing their resources, wasting less and embracing new technologies as diverse as solar-PV arrays, wind turbines, hydro-electricity and biomass heat.

The theme for this year is ‘Energised Communities‘. From 23 June – 8 July we will be celebrating the energised communities who are tenaciously generating and saving energy, fighting fuel poverty, improving their local environment, reducing carbon emissions and innovating the energy system. The fight against climate change is people powered!

We are looking for event organisers to help us make 2018 an even more diverse and distinctly louder celebration of all things community energy. For an overview of what happened last year, see here. For resources and inspirational ideas for your event, check our event pack. If you’re interested in running an event for CEF18, or would like to know more, please fill in this form, or email communityenergyfortnight@gmail.com

Can’t organise an event? You can still can involved in the Fortnight by spreading the voice on social media, writing a piece for the CEF blog, or attending the UK’s largest Community Energy Conference which will kick-start the Fortnight and see the launch of the much anticipated second State of the Sector report.

Goats’ dung could give farm renewable power

A green project to power Dartington with dung has been give a €£18,000 grant to fund a feasibility study.

The study will look at how to set up a 100kW anaerobic digester producing energy from farmyard manure at Old Parsonage Farm on the Dartington Hall estate.

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) has won the grant funding for the feasibility study from the Rural Community Energy Fund.

If the study proves the renewable energy scheme is commercially viable, TRESOC will be looking at raising cash for its construction through a community share offer, so that the plant is owned by the local community – ensuring the economic benefits from the project are shared locally.

PHOTO: Farmer Jon Perkin with his goat herd whose dung could help produce renewable energy at Old Parsonage Farm, Dartington Dairy.

Jo Talling, Dartington Hall Trust’s property director, said: “We welcome this research into whether an anaerobic digester would work on the estate, as there are currently large quantities of farmyard and food waste produced here that are unharvested.

“We would be very keen to add to the existing renewable systems we’ve been installing on the estate since 2016: the two biomass boilers heating the Green Table Cafe, listed Dartington Hall courtyard buildings, the granary and Space studios, as well as a solar array. We look forward to hearing the news.”

The plant would process farmyard manure with other green materials and, potentially, food wastes from cafes and restaurants on the estate.

The dung and food waste would be processed by anaerobic bacteria in an on-farm digestion tank to produce methane gas, which would be used to generate electricity and heat.

The spent digestate, with valuable plant nutrients, could be used as a clean organic fertiliser on the farm.

Roger Papworth, Rural Community Energy Fund programme manager, said: “The fund was pleased to award a grant to Totnes Renewable Energy Society as this is a great example of a community group investigating renewable energy options that the fund aims to support.

“We look forward to hearing of a positive outcome once this work has been completed.”

The feasibility work will be carried out in partnership with tenant farmer Jon Perkin at Old Parsonage Farm and Dr Phil Hobbs of Anaerobic Analytics, a leading international expert in biogas research, specialising in optimising bioenergy productivity.

Careful monitoring of the energy demand of Old Parsonage Farm and the wider Dartington Hall Estate will be completed with Totnes-based Argand Solutions.

PHOTO: Jon and Lynne Perkin, Old Parsonage Farm.

Anaerobic Digester Project at Dartington Hall Estate

by BBC Radio Devon: 23 November, 2017

The grant will also be used for engaging with the local community, with the extension of TRESOC’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning programme to include two more local schools.

The local community will be invited to several meetings to discuss the project, which are planned to take place early next year.

Interested parties will be invited to take part in a ‘walk and talk’ session, to visit the site and to ask questions about the project in an informal setting.

TRESOC’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning Day Project, co-delivered by the Bio-regional Learning Centre, is a 4-day module for Key Stage 2 students within the Totnes area. It includes practical, hands-on making, site visits, critical thinking and presentations.

TRESOC ran the pilot project at St Christopher’s Prep School, Staverton, in June this year.

PHOTO: Children from St Christopher’s School making a basic Archimedes screw with pipes and elastic bands as part of TRESOC’s renewable energy education programme.

Thanks to a donation from an anonymous TRESOC supporter, it was able to make a short film during the pilot to show potential sponsors and schools what the project is all about.

TRESOC’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning [REEL] is a schools programme co-developed and designed with the Bio-Regional Learning Centre.

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The Second Annual Archimedes Screw Fest

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

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.’