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Developing community renewable energy projects We want to share our experiences… the motivations, success factors and challenges… Mellor Country House.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing community renewable energy projects We want to share our experiences… the motivations, success factors and challenges… Mellor Country House."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing community renewable energy projects We want to share our experiences… the motivations, success factors and challenges… Mellor Country House Moss Brook Growers Ellenroad Engine House Millgate Arts Centre

2 The Generating Success team has supported community renewable energy ‘Trailblazer’ projects in rural Greater Manchester to install community renewable energy. Generating Success is a collaboration between GMCVO’s* Community Hubs team, MERCi and the Carbon Co-op, providing capacity building, project development, technical and enterprise support to community renewable energy projects. The trailblazers: Mellor Country House, Stockport - 4kW solar photovoltaic (PV) installation Ellenroad Engine House, Rochdale – 198kW biomass boiler and heating system Millgate Arts Centre, Oldham – 4kW solar PV installation Moss Brook Growers, Wigan – 20kW solar PV installation and grid connection And their motivations, success factors and challenges… Motivations Clear motivations and a clear vision for developing community renewable energy are essential to keep you focused and help you to overcome challenges. Motivations include; Needing to find a solution to an energy issue, either electricity or heating, and renewables can offer a solution. For example an electricity or heating challenge like improving the internal environment for people who use the building and or to minimise building deterioration. To save money and generate an income to fund new or existing community projects A desire to reduce CO2 emissions To enhance your educational offer on sustainability issues Success factors The most influential factors that contributed to the success of these projects include: Having good professional advice A clear vision Good project management People learnt a lot and gained new skills. The trailblazers are also inspired to share their learning from these projects with others interested in developing their own schemes or considering how to become more sustainable. They plan to work on new projects to further improve there community facility or develop another renewable scheme. * GMCVO – Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

3 Challenges Here are the main challenges that the projects encountered while developing their scheme. Permissions Make no assumptions, permissions must be explored and secured early in the project as they could prevent and delay the whole scheme. These include obtaining permissions from planning, conservation or heritage and obtaining permissions from owners or adjoining landowners and some may require additional surveys. These can easily increase costs and timescales, especially when solicitors are involved and when decision makers are unfamiliar with community renewable energy schemes. Start discussions early so that decision makers’ requirements can influence your scheme before too much work is done. Seek to gain support from those that can influence decision makers, eg Councillors, English Heritage. Procurement process required You may have preferred installers or consultants but some funders require that work is tendered to make sure you have a fair process. This is generally good practice anyway, as you can compare different companies against your own criteria. Cost is only one of the consideration to look at. Technical Challenges Seek professional technical advice, this is a new and changing area of technology and there is a lot of conflicting advice. Every project is different so you may need technical feasibility studies and surveys. You may also need a project manager to coordinate different consultants to make sure things run in a logical order. Speak to others to find trusted consultants, those that can communicate details. It’s important to obtain clarification on, and implications of, issues you don’t understand so your group can make informed decisions. Be flexible to new ideas. Financial Challenges Costs often increase as the project evolves, as a result of more detailed assessments and negotiating permissions. If your project relies on Feed in Tarrif (FiT) or Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) ensure you’re eligible to apply as under State Aid rules, public grants can’t fund the renewable installation. You’ll need to identify what can/can’t be public funded and explore other finance options like loans, community share offers and using reserves. Calculate and review financial projections and include project costs, loan repayments, fuel costs as well as FiT and RHI.

4 Governance A committed well organised organisation will find it easier to overcome challenges and make effective use of limited time and resources. It will take time to develop and understand a renewable energy project, particularly if there’s little experience in this area. Clear, evidenced benefits provided by feasibility studies and assessments can help to obtain support and commitment from trustees, staff and volunteers and they can help to inform decisions. Building on Generating Success in 2014 The first phase of Generating Success (April 2012 – November 2013) focused on rural areas and was part-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas with Defra as the managing authority for the fund. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have since launched the £15m DECC / Defra Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) to provide finance for rural communities in England to explore the feasibility of, and planning for, electricity and heat projects - In January 2014 they also launched a new £10m Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF). For DECC’s press release visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/power-to-the- people-government-boost-to-community-energy.http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/rural-community-energy-fundhttps://www.gov.uk/government/news/power-to-the- people-government-boost-to-community-energy Generating Success are now actively looking at how to sustain the work and move into a new phase, that would support a much wider range of organisations to improve energy efficiency and install renewal energy generation. See the Generating Success website for our proposed Community Energy Resilience Programme (CERP) - For further information and to join our mailing list, please contact: Alison Crush, tel: Morag Rose, tel: Carbon Coop MERCi GMCVO St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester, M12 6FZ


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