Trews Weir Hydro: We have the go-ahead from ECC

Great news! We have the go ahead from Exeter City Council to start investigating the viability of a hydro project at Trews Weor on the River Exe in Exeter. Councillors and local authority officers really took on board the ‘added-value’ that community-owned energy projects bring by way of the social value and impact. You can read more about the project and keep updated as it progresses on our Trews Weir Project page.

Thank you to all of our members and supporters who contacted their local councillor in support of this project.

Its a long path ahead of us but if the business model works and we are able to obtain a license from the Enervironment Agency, which in part will involve finding ways of listening to river users concerns about a hydro project and addressing them.

We’ll keep you updated as the project develops.

The social impact/value of community energy

Trews Weir Hydro: Support for ECOE

ECOE is investigating the possibility of a community-owned hydro electricity project at Trews Weir on the River Exe and have met with Exeter City Council (ECC) to discuss it.  ECOE may have to bid against commercial companies to win the contract for the project, although this has not been definitely decided yet.

We’d like to ask for your help as we believe your support might be able to influence ECC’s decision. Please write or email your ECC councillor asking them to contact The Deputy Chief Exec: Mark Parkinson (who deals with Energy) and ask him to take into consideration the additional social benefit which would be provided if the contract for Trews Weir goes to ECOE and factor this into their evaluation of any tenders. Otherwise, there is a danger that this decision will purely be made on cost grounds and the social impact and value of the community dimension will be overlooked. If you do not know who your city councillor is, look here

Here’s a sample email you could use. However do feel free to edit and personalise it as you see fit.

Some (not Google) email clients will allow you to click here and the entire text will appear in your email browser ready for you to put in the right Councillor’s mail address and go.

Dear Councillor …………………………..

I am writing to you about Exeter Community Energy’s (ECOE) possible development of the potential hydro-electric project at Trews Weir in Exeter. I would like to register my strong support for ECOE’s involvement with this project, which would provide a tangible demonstration of successful local energy action, a beacon for community energy.

Community energy initiatives can provide social impact in ways that commercial organisations cannot. Part of the income from any community energy project goes into a community fund for local energy saving projects and to help with fuel poverty. Community ownership builds a sense of community and strengthens the local economy as local contractors are preferred. The aim of any community energy organisation is to provide benefit to the local community which is in contrast to commercial organisations aim to create profit for their shareholders.

Please pass on my support for ECOE to be awarded the contract to develop and deliver this hydro-electric project at Trews Weir by contacting Mark Parkinson at the Exeter City Council and ask him to recognise the social impact and value that would be created by ECOE delivering this project. If the decision involves a competitive tender process can he ensure that social impact is included in the criteria so that ECOE wouldn’t be forced to directly bid against commercial companies on only a cost basis that overlooks social value.

Yours sincerely,

Download the above text here.