ECOE Update (Feb)

ECOE Update (Feb)

We’ve been busy as always since our last newsletter. We were really pleased to have won the Express and Echo Best Community Enterprise Award in December and were also Highly Commended in the 2016 Regen SW Green Energy Awards for Best Community Initiative.

Solar PV 1 and 2

Our Community loan offer was successful as you will have seen from our previous email. We raised the £70,000 required to pay back a previously arranged interest free bridging loan. Thank you to those of you made a loan to ECOE.

All of our eight sites have been generating well. There’s a few problems with displays, which inform users of the building how much solar energy is being generated and carbon savings. We hope to have these sorted soon as education is a significant part of the project.

With installations now complete, our attention turns to operations and maintenance (O & M), we’ll shortly have our new O & M policy and contract written and annual site inspections and reports are underway. Having effective O & M will maximise generation and minimise future maintenance issues.

Four of our sites have now reached the completion of their first year. We plan to bring you news about how they have been performing and feedback from the organisations involved in the next newsletters.

Shillingford Organics and Wonford Community and Learning Centre are our very first two sites and you can read their annual progress report here. Next time the focus will be on Exeter Library and Great Moor House.

Simon smiling finished panels ok-small Wonford PV 20 kW-Small

Our solar panels installed at Shillingford with Simon, the installer (left) and Wonford (right).

You’ll be glad to know that more FiT payments have started to arrive. It’s been a long drawn out journey but we’re now only waiting on Exeter College, Glasshouse Lane Medical Centre and Pinhoe Road Baptist Church.

We’re also hoping that legal agreements will at last be completed at Okehampton Glass, so that CORES can be the new owners and FiT payments transferred over to them.

Heat Project

This is progressing, although rather slowly. We have mainly been investigating the possibilities at County Hall. ReEnergise carried out a site visit in November as part of the feasibility work and the two best scenarios are for a new biomass boiler or a Combined Heat and Power system (CHP). The CHP would not only provide heat but also electricity that would be sold via a power purchase agreement to Devon County Council (DCC). As soon as we have the community finance model for biomass and CHP that is being created for us, we’re be able to check viability of those two options. We’re hoping there will be a viable project to present to DCC.

As part of DARE’s support through DCC funding for Devon Community Energy groups, they will be completing a renewable heat mapping exercise in Exwick as this is the off-grid area for gas in Exeter and this makes biomass more viable. We’re hoping there will be community buildings and commercial organisations that we can approach.

Your help needed – Do you know of a building or organisation that might be interested? The factors that you need to consider are;

  • Are the boilers old and in need of repair or replacement?
  • Is the area off-gas?
  • Is there only currently one boiler and if more than one are they located close to one another?
  • Is access easy for delivering and is their space for storage of fuel.
  • For CHP, is the heat load constant as with a swimming pool, care home or leisure centre?

If you have any suggestions please contact ECOE.

New projects and funding

We’d very much like to develop an energy saving project. Recently we have made two funding applications for a Healthy Homes and Wellbeing project working with vulnerable people living in cold damp homes, which are affecting their health and may also be in fuel poverty.

We were sadly unsuccessful with Western Distribution Power and currently we are waiting to hear about an application to The Communities Fund from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

We are also involved with a potential Devon-wide European Structural and Investment Fund Low Carbon call. Its early days and we need to find a statutory partner for this to go ahead like a local authority or university. This could provide funding for further renewable projects alongside community ESCO’s and storage/supply projects. The minimum project size is £833k, which would require £333k match funding. You can see a project of this size will be a major undertaking and will involve several community energy groups from Devon.

Upcoming ECOE Events
Innovation in Community-led energy efficiency.

1st March 12.00 to 17.00 at The Meeting room, Stephens Scown LLP.
This is jointly organised with Regen SW and is primarily for community energy practitioners and other related professionals. Three practitioners will present their innovative projects. More info and booking information is available here . As a member or supporter of ECOE there will be no charge.

Energy efficient Exeter: What role for ECOE?

1st March 17.30 to 19.00 at the Meeting Room, Stephens Scown LLP
The evening event brings the focus to Exeter. We’re hoping lots of our members and supporters will come along and others involved with saving energy in Exeter to explore what’s been working and what hasn’t and what role might there be for ECOE. Some of the presenters from the earlier event are staying on to tell us about the innovative community projects that have worked for them.

Energy Conversation Social

Date to be confirmed
The plan is to organise these occasionally with a specific title. Let us know what topics you are interested in. We’re thinking of having the first one about ECOE’s community fund.

Visit to Energy Recovery Facility.

Wed 5th April 14.30 to 16.30 Energy Recovery Facility, Marshbarton, Exeter
The visit includes a presentation, a tour of the facility and the control room and is open for up to 14 people. You will need to book your place, please Contact us.

We also haven’t forgotten about the idea of a tour of a couple of our installations … watch this space!!

Volunteer Opportunities.

  • Marketing: We have a great team of directors, our only gap is marketing. Do you have the expertise and the interest? More info here.
  • WordPress expertise: Do you have the skills to troubleshoot for ECOE when we have the occasional problem?

If you’re interested in any of these Contact us, we’d love to hear from you.