Barcombe Energy group
Barcombe Parish is situated 5 miles north of Lewes, there are 650 homes and a population of 1250 people. In 2011 the Barcombe Energy Group was set up to support the village following a local plan undertaken by the Parish Council which highlighted that local residents wanted more support with energy. The Parish is off the gas network. In 2012 we carried out the Barcombe LEAF project and developed a local energy plan for the community which informed us that the village pays 140% above the national average on home energy, 80% of the village use oil for heating. During this project we were able to insulate 30% of the village for free which we have calculated saves approximately £30,000/year in the local economy.
Barcombe Energy Group is unconstituted. To date we have worked with the support of the Parish Council and Communities Matter. In 2014 we are carrying out a district heating feasibility and to support this we plan to form a cooperative.
Brighton and Hove Energy Services Coop
BHESCo is an award winning not-for profit energy co-op empowering Brighton & Hove to become a sustainable, low carbon city.
BHESCo installs renewable energy and energy saving measures in homes and businesses at no upfront cost using an innovative ‘Pay As You Save’ model. Customers pay for their energy measures over a number of years using savings made on energy bills. In this way, the financial barriers of installing low carbon energy systems are removed.
BHESCo also offers impartial energy bill advice to the community, and is dedicated toward tackling fuel poverty in the area.
Eastbourne Community Energy
We find and agree sites for renewable energy projects in our borough. Create community share offers to finance those projects, so local people can own local energy. Provide a good return on investments for community share-holders as an incentive and to say thank you.
We run energy efficiency programmes with any left-over money, helping local people to reduce energy bills.
Community-led, community-run, community-owned.
Steyning, Bramber and Beeding are three adjoining communities with a total population of just over 10,000. Steyning is the largest of the three and has a thriving high street, several schools, and many active community groups.
Steyning 10:10 was set up in 2010 with the aim getting local people to think about and take action to reduce carbon emissions. It is run on a voluntary basis, with a core group of around 15-20 enthusiasts attending regular Steering Group meetings and organising most activities, and a mailing list of 380 local residents.
Taking advantage of the community engagement approach pioneered in Petersfield, Hampshire, a ‘Greening Campaign’ in Steyning, Bramber and Beeding was launched in Oct 2010. A series of information projects and other activities have been developed since, covering domestic PV, insulation, water conservation, composting, green transport, and other sustainability topics.
A monthly ‘Green Drinks’ evening has been a popular way of keeping the Group energised, with guest speakers giving talks on a range of themes. A quarterly ‘Give Your Stuff Away Day’ has been another staple, which runs successfully alongside a thriving local Freegle group (with 800+ members).
Developing a community energy project is an idea we’ve been discussing for several years. It will allow us to scale up our ambitions and profile, and create a tangible focal point for other awareness raising activities, as well as a sustainable local energy source.
Energise Sussex Coast
Energise Sussex Coast (ESC) was founded as an IPS Ben Com on 18 June 2012. It aims to reduce fuel poverty in Rother and Hastings through energy saving and renewable energy generating schemes. It consists currently of two directors and multiple volunteers and partner organisations in the statutory and voluntary sector as well as local businesses and installers.
To date ESC has managed an Energy Advice Centre in Bexhill, referred 100’s of residents to free cavity wall and loft insulation (CERT funded) schemes and helped to deliver the Winter Warmth campaign and Fuel Poverty Reduction programme in East Sussex (funded by ESCC).
ESC has also distributed £ 140,000 of grants for domestic renewable heating systems under the RHPP2 Communities scheme and is currently working with local partner organisations (Rother Voluntary Action, Hastings Voluntary Action and Horizons Community Learning CIC) to deliver the Big Energy Saving Network scheme in East Sussex.
Because of the acute deprivation in Hastings and parts of Rother – especially areas of social housing that are off mains gas – the proposed project to establish a community share launch to install solar PV on social homes is the kind of project that will best meets ESC’s of addressing fuel poverty with renewable energy generation.
Cuckmere Community Solar
Cuckmere Community Solar has formed as a result of a private Solar Farm proposal coming to our Parishes. During their community engagement process we approached the developer, Susenco, and via Susenco their funders Low Carbon, about the possibility of entering a commercial-community partnership with them.
We proposed that the community side of the business be run by a community company who will feed any profits back into sustainable projects in the community.
We are currently fine tuning how to make this work with the invaluable help of Susenco who are playing a vital role in negotiating the best business model between the two sides. We believe this to be the first solar partnership of this kind in the UK.
In our core group we have Dr Alister Scott (Chair), Patrick Hole (lawyer), Crispin Freeman (accountant), Adam Coxen (experience non-exec director and funding expert) and Kate Alderton (experienced community organiser)
We are now gathering some highly skilled members of our community with a deep knowledge of renewables, education and nature.
The solar farm sits on the cross point of four parishes. Our communities are thriving with a strong transition network, local shops (some community run), a fuel coop, active residents associations and local shows throughout the year.
By developing a community energy group we can harness the skills we already have and use them to reconnect ourselves and others with the way we produce and use energy in our homes and businesses. We believe people that take more responsibility for their energy consumption and its impacts when they are involved in its production.
Forest Row Energy
Forest Row Energy is a new initiative, set up in March 2014 to benefit the whole community by supporting residents to reduce their energy usage and energy costs, as well as producing energy from local renewable sources. Our aim is to increase engagement and understanding in the community about sustainable energy and reduce our carbon footprint.
We are in the process of becoming a co-operative, so that we are truly locally owned, and are currently assessing the viability of a number of renewable energy projects in and around the village, focusing on solar PV and biomass technology. Our formal launch will be at our Forest Row Energy Fair in June 2014, where everyone is invited to come and see how our various initiatives can benefit them.
Forest Row and its surrounding hamlets and villages nestle in the Ashdown Forest in the north-west of East Sussex, on the border with West Sussex. It is a beautiful, rural area with a vibrant, active community. Forest Row Energy has been born out of the work of Transition Forest Row to develop a resilient, sustainable future for our community and we are grateful for the support we have received from Transition Forest Row, Forest Row Parish Council, Wealden District Council and Community Energy South.
Our core team consists of Kate Taylor-Smith, Sarah James Wright, Rod Hughes and Rachel Gamble.
Balcombe’s peaceful village and community was majorly disrupted and divided last year due to the controversial activities of Cuadrilla in our parish. We want to do something positive that can help heal this divide and bring the community together again.
Our goal is to supply 100% of Balcombe’s electricity demand through community owned, locally generated renewable energy and to meet 10% of this target within 6 months.
To use part of any profits from the enterprise to reduce local energy demand through education and by financing energy efficiency improvements to community buildings and local homes through a community benefit fund.
To ensure that the financial benefits of harnessing local clean energy resources are primarily shared amongst local people.
To take responsibility for meeting our own energy needs in a way that does not contribute to climate change or harm the prospects of future generations.
To be sensitive to local landscapes and environments; and to develop responsibly by targeting roof space first, and by adhering to the industry best practice.
To inspire other communities by demonstrating and promoting the benefits of community renewable energy as a positive, viable alternative to the current energy production model.
To unite the local community in support of these goals.
Key group members: Julian Fitzsimons, Joe Nixon, Felix Carmichael
Can you imagine a future where all of the energy that we need is derived from the renewable resources that surround us in our own community: the sun, the sea, the rivers, the wind, the woods and fields? This is a future that has motivated the formation of a new energy coop, SOLESCO.
SOLESCO grew from the Transition Chichester (TC) energy group. The energy group has been busy on home-oriented projects, such as distributing over 100 energy monitors, but it grew a more ambitious vision to develop community owned renewable energy generation. Harnessing the combined investment power of individuals in the community, with the commercial strength of local partners working out of local premises, and Government funded support, in the form of the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT). The initial projects will use solar panels, known in the trade as photovoltaics (PV), which are an existing and well-proven renewable technology. In Germany and Denmark such community based projects have already been in place for years.
The energy group saw how OVESCO had formed out of Transition Town Lewes to do exactly this. Its first partner organisation, Harvey’s Brewery, owned a large roof where solar panels could be installed facing the right way to capture maximum sunlight. The brewery also had a large electricity demand which peaked when the sun shone, due to its refrigeration requirements.
OVESCO arranged and paid for the installation of the panels, raising the money by offering shares to the community – individuals were invited to invest a minimum of £250 each. The Share issue was over-subscribed, so further projects were developed.
The PV system generates electricity and gets an income from the Government Feed In Tariff (FIT) incentive scheme. This income means the shareholders receive a competitive dividend and the brewery benefits from free electricity!
SOLESCO was recently accepted on a Government funded mentoring programme run by OVESCO through Community Energy South (CES), an umbrella organisation formed to bring together energy coops in the south of England. SOLESCO is not alone – we are one of 10 groups in Sussex with similar projects in various stages of development.
SOLESCO has now been registered as an Industrial and Provident Society with the formal name Solesco Co-operative Limited, number 32381R, and we have applied for a bank account.
Transition Town Worthing
Transition Town Worthing’s Energy Shop offers free impartial advice to the local community, including a tariff comparison and switching service, and eligibility check for further assistance.
We are at St Paul’s Arts Centre on Chapel Road, every Wednesday, from 10am to 3.30pm.
We are also working on developing a domestic energy survey service, and looking at potential solar projects in Worthing.
HKD Transition is a group of residents of Hassocks, Hurstpierpoint, Keymer and Ditchling working on community-led responses to climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy, building resilience and well-being. We are one of over 1,000 Transition initiatives around the world. Our aims are to:
Promote awareness of ‘peak oil’ and climate change in our area;
Gather enthusiasm for preparing for the consequences of peak oil and mitigate the effects of climate change;
Develop groups and projects that involve local residents in creating a sustainable future by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our resilience to the changes that lie ahead
OVESCO (Ouse Valley Energy Services) is a local owned not for profit energy services company serving the Lewes District and East Sussex. OVESCO CIC has been trading since 2007, the company was set up by Transition Town Lewes and originally contracted by Lewes District Council to provide micro generation grants for over 250 homes and energy advice services to the residents of the District. In 2010 OVESCO CBS a Community Benefit Society was set up and raised around £500,000 via a community share offer wthi 240 share holders, which was invested in 250kW of Solar PV at seven sites including 100kW at Harveys Depot and 35kW at Priory School. OVESCO undertook DECC funded Local Energy Assessments for the Parish of Barcombe and for Lewes town, looking at micro generation, home insulation and a CHP district heat network for Lewes. In 2014 OVESCO was grant funded by WSCC and the Cabinet Office to peer mentored 12 groups to help set up local energy companies in the South East and won an Ashden Award for its work. In 2017 OVESCO was awarded Rural Community Energy Funding by WRAP to look as the feasibility for install PV at 25 East Sussex ‘Sunny Solar Schools’ and look at solar thermal for the leisure centres in the Lewes District. OVESCO is currently focused on expanding its portfolio of local generation sites and education around energy generation at schools in the South East. OVESCO director Chris Rowland says; ‘OVESCO’s vision is for a future in which 100% of our energy needs are generated locally from renewable sources owned by the community’.
Meadow Blue Community Energy
Meadow Blue Community Energy (MBCE) is a Community Benefit Society which raised of £1.2 Million of community shares with 188 investors through Ethex to build a 5MW solar farm at Merston just south of Chichester. The project was original developed by Solstice Renewables as a split 10MW site with 5MW going to MBCE. The MBCE solar farm was built by Solarcentuary and projected managed by Mongoose Energy with support from local energy companies OVESCO and Solesco. The project benefits from the income generated by the Feed-in Tariff and the sale of electricity to the grid, Income pays a bank loan, interest to investors, for management services and a community benefit fund. MBCE Director Dave Barton says; ‘The project gave us the chance to scale up, work with like-minded partners and get the community investing in its own local low carbon electricity supply. We are keen to develop the ecology of the site (including hosting bees and rare-breed sheep), demonstrate a wider community benefit and eventually to supply our clean energy directly to local customers.”