Biggest REEL ever at the Grove school in Totnes

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.

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.

£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.

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.






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.


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.

Vote in Community Referendum Today – Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Make sure you vote in the Totnes referendum today on the ‘community right to build order’ to approve the development of the Atmos project, on the site of the derelict Dairy Crest Dairy (next to the train station). Atmos will create a multi use site that will include a community centre, recreational facilities, a retirement home, low cost housing, and industrial units. Their vision is to build a development that will be carbon neutral, involving different renewable energy technologies – Vote Yes!