Support Sparsholt Green Gas Mill Before 15th Aug Deadline

Many of us supported the construction of a “Green Gas” Mill at Sparsholt Agricultural College near Winchester. And many thanks for that, but can you help out again?

The gas mill is being developed by Ecotricity. It is not a community owned project; but we are talking to Ecotricity about other joint community projects.

sparsholt-college-and-ecotricity
The mill takes locally grown silage/grass and turns it into carbon neutral natural gas (methane). The methane is then fed into the national gas grid for use in heating and cooking within local homes and businesses. The Carbon Dioxide produced from burning the gas is almost exactly the same amount as the Carbon Dioxide taken out of the atmosphere by growing the grass/silage. So this means local people can burn the gas without any net carbon emissions.

Ecotricity’s original planning application was turned down by the Winchester Planning Committee for one single reason – the alleged impact on road transport. (We are sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the application was heard a few weeks before the local elections!)

The road transport issue was (and still is) a red herring introduced by the objectors at a late stage. What the objectors “forgot” to point out is that whatever crops are grown on local fields they all need to be transported off the farm. Whether it be wheat, beet, maize or oil seed, lorries would still need to take it away to local processing plants. The Green Gas Mill would have no overall impact on road movements.

Even so Ecotricity has re-submitted their plans and have offered to ensure:
1. Road transport movements are stopped during peak times and during the school run.
2. Certain rural routes will not be used.
3. Most road movement would be to and from A roads.
4. Off road farm tracks will be used as much as possible.

They now need as much local support as they can get. That’s where you come in!

HREC in general supports zero carbon gas production. The purpose of this email is to ask you to send an email of support for the Gas Mill.

This can be done by clicking here.

Please show your support for this important project.
NB We need to act soon as the deadline for comments is fast approaching.

It would be great if you could also share this email with friends and colleagues, and on social media.

As always – many thanks for your help!

 

Images courtesy of Ecotricity

Co-operating for a greener Hampshire

Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative (HREC) has taken a close look at how much renewable energy is generated in Hampshire and the contribution we all make to total energy use within the county. The results are nothing to be proud of!

Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative have produced a detailed report on the amount of energy used in Hampshire and how much of our energy demand is met by locally produced renewable energy. The results are disappointing. “Whilst the UK is close to meeting its targets for renewables; Hampshire is falling woefully behind” says Martin Heath a Director of HREC.

The UK has a legally binding target of producing 15% of all its energy from renewable sources by 2020.  Most other counties in the UK are doing their bit to help meet this target. As Martin says “We all have a responsibility to produce as much energy as possible from renewables – it’s cleaner, cheaper and better. On average the UK meets about 12% of its energy needs from renewables.  But the result in Hampshire is a very disappointing 1.8%”.

Andrew Thompson, Chair of HREC points out “Hampshire is doing OK in installing solar but is really falling behind in other technologies which is a great shame as we in Hampshire have some of the best renewable energy resources in the country”.

George Belfield one of the main authors of the report says “We looked extensively at every renewable energy site in the county; from that we calculated the amount of energy generated renewably for electricity, heat and transport.  From analysis of DECC statistics we were able to ascertain just how much energy is used by the people and business of Hampshire.   It is surprising that Hampshire uses so much; what is even more surprising that almost all our energy is brought in from outside the county. Most counties in the UK are stepping up and meeting their responsibilities for reducing the impact on our environment from burning fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, we in Hampshire are not”.

Martin Heath, comments: “Just 1.8% of the total energy we use in Hampshire comes from locally produced renewable energy.  Other parts of the UK are achieving 5 times this amount. Climate change is something that affects us all – we have to step up and take responsibility. We can’t expect other to do it for us.”

The full report is here

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

1.    Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative has been established to speed up the transition from fossil fuel based energy towards generation using renewable sources – such as wind, power and biomass. We aim to establish a range of renewable energy generation facilities in the county, maximise co-operative and community ownership and the benefits deriving from such production. By co-ordinating information on renewable energy projects, we can provide a resource for education about all aspects of renewable energy. For further information about the group, please visit www.hampshire-energy.coop
2.    HREC commissioned a report from local energy experts to assess how much renewable energy is being produced in the county and how this compares with how much is being consumed within the county.

 

HREC Solar for Schools Conference

Calling all schools and colleges – Sign up here Eventbrite

Community funded solar panels can greatly benefit schools and colleges and can be free. With such a project schools can:

  1. Reduce energy costs
  2. Cut carbon emissions
  3. Gain an invaluable educational resource

Many schools and colleges in Hampshire have already benefited from solar energy. Join us at the HREC Solar for Schools Conference to find out more.

Local schools and colleges are invited to a one day workshop on solar panels for schools organised by Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative, being held on Tuesday 24th November 2015 at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT).

There is a great opportunity for many schools in Hampshire to take advantage of their building rooftops which can be ideal for solar panels, and this workshop is designed to show you how.

Guest speakers from BCoT, solar panel installers, financiers, a community energy co-operative and 10:10 will be explaining how a school can benefit from solar panels, how they are installed and how they can be paid for by the local community. The workshop will cover the UK renewable energy market, technology, financial models, planning and legal issues and a case study of BCoT who have already installed a 100kW, 400 solar panel array.

This free event will run from 10am to 3pm with lunch provided by the renowned Restaurant at BCoT. There will also be an opportunity to take a tour of the existing solar panels at the college.

Realising the time pressures on school staff, attendees are welcome to come for the morning, afternoon, the whole day or simply join us for lunch.

The HREC Solar for Schools Conference is the ideal way to learn more about the benefits of solar energy, and to find out if your roof space may be suitable for solar panels.

Sign up here Eventbrite

Feel free to contact us for more information

 

2015 Annual General Meeting

Our 2015 annual general meeting is to be held on

Thursday 19th November 7.30 pm.

At The Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8SB.

Doors will open at 7pm, the AGM will start prompt at 7.30pm.

We will cover the formal agenda:

Opening remarks
Chairman’s Report including next 12 months’ strategy
Treasurer’s Report including motion for audit arrangements
Election of new Directors
Guest speakers – Philip Wolfe, chairman of Community Energy England, and Anthony Woolhouse of West Solent Solar Co-op
General Discussion
AoB

Entrance will be by ticket only. If you’d like to attend please download a free ticket here.

Everyone is welcome to join us at the AGM, to meet us, find out about our plans for the next year and to listen to our brilliant speakers. Bring your friends too!

Please note however, that only members are able to cast a vote at the AGM.
If you’d like the opportunity to vote, then please sign up and pay your annual subscription on-line on our website before 19th November.

Exisiting members – If you have any items you’d like to see on the agenda please let us know at info@hampshire-energy.coop

We very much look forward to seeing you there.

HREC Team

Successful inaugural networking event

There was a fantastic turn out for HREC’s inaugural Corporate Networking Event on 15th September. Representatives of companies including Southern Water, The Forestry Commission and Future Solent joined us at Hattingley Valley Winery, near Alresford.

Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative (HREC) launched its series of networking events for businesses committed to sustainability and renewable energy in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. HREC aims to develop a network to provide opportunities for local businesses to get together and exchange ideas and also to demonstrate the importance of local businesses to Hampshire’s economy. HREC will hold 3-4 events a year at interesting venues around Hampshire.

DSC_0107 web   DSC_0117 web

HREC wants local government, either directly or through agencies such as the LEPs, to develop policies that will increase renewable energy generation, reduce energy waste and encourage sustainable development. Consequently, HREC is involved in initiatives to create a more positive and supportive approach by local government.

HREC needs the support of local businesses operating in Hampshire that have a passion for renewables and community owned energy schemes and can help drive the energy revolution forward. Local businesses or those with interests in the county, are encouraged to join as Corporate Supporters.

The modest £250 annual subscription fee will entitle supporters to a profile on the HREC website, corporate branding on HREC communications, opportunity to influence HREC policy and direction, attendance at future Corporate Networking Events, regular email updates, as well as information about investment opportunities in local community-owned renewable energy schemes.

To get involved, please contact helen.jones@hampshire-energy.coop. We are also keen to hear from you as to how HREC can help your business and we would welcome feedback on your thoughts on how HREC could develop in the future.

HREC would like to extend thanks to the evening’s speakers, Jacob Leadley, Winemaker at Hattingley Valley and Anthony Woolhouse from the West Solent Solar Cooperative.

hattingley-logo

 

 

HREC is very grateful to Hattingley Valley for hosting the event. For those that may be interested, it is possible to book tours of the winery and vineyard. For details contact tours@hattingleyvalley.co.uk.

 

HREC would also like to thank our first Corporate Supporters for their commitment and contribution to our future.

Become a Corporate Supporter

 

Photo credits: Rowbes Photography

 

 

The end for Bullington Cross? Or just a pause?

Well after thousand of hours of effort by all of us we learnt today that EDF Energy Renewables are withdrawing their appeal against the planning refusal for Bullington Cross Wind Farm.  This is no real surprise given recent Government announcements; but still a great shame.

2,845 of us wrote/email/contacted the local planners, local Councillors and local MPs supporting the wind farm. Unfortunately we have been ignored – for now!  Thanks to all your efforts the wind farm become the most widely supported wind farm application ever.    A copy of HREC’s press release is attached. Press Release July 2015.   Please have a look at it and send it on to friends and colleagues. Our local authorities cannot ignore us for ever. Sooner or later they will have to accept the inevitability of renewable energy and the benefits it brings to us all.

HREC continues to grow and we have a number of other community renewable energy projects in the pipeline. Watch this space!!

Of course if you want to give your views to your local council/parliamentary representative please feel free to do so.

Corporate Networking Event

Business owners and representatives are invited to join our very first Corporate Networking Event on Tuesday 15th September 2015, 18.30 to 20.30 at Hattingley Valley Winery. We’re delighted to be partnered at this event by the Winery, which is situated in the beautiful Hampshire countryside at Lower Wield.

Hattingley vines     Hattingley cuvee

Our corporate networking event will provide a great opportunity for businesses to network and also find out more about Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-op (HREC), our objectives and investment opportunities in community based renewable energy. During the event there will be a chance to take a brief tour of the winery and to sample some premium English sparkling wine, all free of charge.

Please note that the event is open to sponsorship and as a sponsor you will have the opportunity to address the guests at the event, bring along corporate branding to display, have a corporate profile on our website and also be granted complimentary one year HREC Corporate Supporter status.

If you aware of any other businesses/groups who may be interested in the event, please feel free to invite them. However, spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Registration:

To register for the event, visit our Eventbrite page and fill in your details.

Getting there:

The easiest way to get to the vineyard by car is from Preston Candover:

  • Take the turning opposite the Purefoy Arms Pub in Preston Candover towards Lower Wield.
  • Follow the road straight for roughly 1.2 miles until you reach a fork at which point, take the left hand fork (sort of straight on) signed for Lower Wield and Yew Tree
  • You will reach a triangle after an additional 1.0 mile where you must stay right and immediately after this you will find the Hattingley Valley Winery immediately on your right hand side.

The best postcode for SatNav is: SO24 9AJ

If there is sufficient demand, there will be a minibus service transporting guests to and from Basingstoke Train station. Please email George Belfield (contact below) if you would like to use the minibus service.

Further Information:

If you would like to sponsor the event or have any further queries please contact us:

helen.jones@hampshire-energy.coop
george.belfield@hampshire-energy.coop

 

hattingley-logo

Call for Directors

Introduction to HREC

Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative (HREC) was established and registered as a Co-operative (under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1965), in 2013. It grew out of an initiative taken by members of three organisations – Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC), Transition Andover and Transition Basingstoke.

The main aim of HREC is to establish community-owned renewable energy projects throughout Hampshire. It has supplementary objectives of promoting energy efficiency and education about renewable energy.

The initial work of the group has been on a variety of solar PV and onshore wind projects of which EDF-ER’s proposal to build a 14-turbine wind farm at Bullington Cross is the largest and most ambitious. Since early 2013 HREC has been in discussion and negotiation with EDF-ER.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with EDF-ER in August 2013 under which HREC shall, at their discretion, have the option to purchase a Revenue Share in EDF-ER’s wholly owned special purpose vehicle, Bullington Cross Wind Farm Ltd (BCWFL); the Revenue Share may vary between 2.5% and 10% of the BCWFL net revenues.

The site of the wind farm is at the meeting point of three local planning authorities – Basingstoke and Deane and Test Valley Borough Councils and Winchester City Council. In June 2014, all three planning authorities turned down the planning application from EDF-ER; the application is currently the subject of a planning appeal, which is scheduled to be heard in October 2015.

HREC also has signed an MoU with Solafields, a commercial solar PV developer in respect of a proposed 12 MW solar farm near Bishops Waltham. If planning permission is obtained HREC will have an option to purchase between 5% and 10% of the output of the solar farm on the understanding that priority in purchasing shares in the solar farm will be given to those living within the Shedfield and Bishops Waltham parishes.

HREC has also been working with a non-profit social enterprise, Energy4All (E4All), which has many years experience of organising successful share issues of renewable energy projects throughout the UK. E4All has the expertise and experience to support HREC during the pre-planning, post-consent and operational phases of major new projects.

Members and Supporters

Membership of HREC is open to all individuals who pay a £10 annual subscription.

The Directors intend to introduce a category of Corporate Supporters in 2015.

The nine HREC directors all live in Hampshire and have considerable and varied professional experience in finance, management, law, communications and marketing, renewable energy and politics.

The current understanding is that directors contribute a minimum of 15 hours each month pro bono to the work of the Co-op. On top of this voluntary work, in the course of the last 12 months four HREC directors have received remuneration for a small number of days of additional specialist work.

At least two of the current directors will be stepping down from the Board at the AGM to be held in the autumn 2015. The Board is particularly interested in recruiting new directors, who live in Hampshire, who have an enthusiasm for developing community-owned renewable energy and have expertise in either finance, accounting or project management.

More information
Those interested in becoming a director of HREC are asked to contact either Robert Hutchison (01962-870082, drd.hutchison@btinternet.com) or Andrew Thompson (07831-144525, andrewthompson1958@btinternet.com)

Please share this information with your friends and colleagues and on social media. Many thanks!

Which needs more land, fracking or wind?

With organisations like CPRE, in principle supporting fracking, while vocally opposing forms of renewable energy like wind farming; we thought we’d investigate one of the main claims made by supporters of this technology.

“Fracking requires only a few acres of land, while wind farms require hundreds.”

They are right – each well-head does indeed only take up a couple of acres.  But to frack a gas field requires hundreds of well heads.  For example it might require several hundred or even several thousand well-heads to completely frack the gas field beneath Hampshire.

Broadly speaking each well-head will have up to nine additional wells, radiating out from the head for about 2-4 km. Each well head therefore, can frack about 55 sq km (assuming a 3km average well length).

The deep layers of shale rock that holds gas covers many thousand square kilometers of British countryside. Hampshire sits on gas shale around 3,700 sq km in size, which would require 65 well-head to frack  the whole lot.

Move them closer together (2km per well) and we would need 150, each with up to nine additional wells around those.

And there’s more.

Fracking creates lot’s of traffic. Each fracking well must first be constructed, requiring large machinery to install the high pressure pumps and dig the lagoons to collect the fluid.

The water required for fracking must be transported by tanker to each well-head. The fracking fluid (which is contaminated and slightly radioactive) must then also be removed from the well head by tanker and taken to a treatment plant. All this requires massive movement of water and fracking fluid by lorry across the countyside.

This is what a typical well head looks like during construction.

fracking1The pictures below are of typical fracking fields in the US. They show how the well heads are spread out; but connected by service roads.

Fracking Image USGSFracking

But that is only the start. Once the well-head enters the production phase then the gas has to be transported from each well-head. This can be done by pipeline or by tanker. A network of pipes can be laid to connect each well head (a major construction project) or the gas can be collected (and liquefied) at the well-head and collected by tanker.

All these tanker movements happen along country roads from isolated well-heads spread every 2-10 kms across the Hampshire countryside.

Is this really what we want? Talk about industrialising the countryside. Once these fields are occupied by well-heads, they cannot be used for anything else.

Oh, there are also many reports detailing the health and water table pollution issues associated with fracking e.g.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/30/doctors-and-academics-call-for-ban-on-inherently-risky-fracking.

Compare this to wind farms

On the other hand a single wind turbine only has a “footprint” of some 600 sq meters.  All the rest of the land within a wind farm can be used, and is used, to grow crops or graze animals.

February 28th – Clipboard Day Whitchurch

Volunteers needed for Clipboard Day in Whitchurch

Join supporters and volunteers of HREC at Whitchurch on Saturday 28th February to raise support and spread the word about the Bullington Cross appeal.

As the closest town to the proposed site, support from the inhabitants of Whitchurch is crucial in persuading the planning inspectorate. So do something great and support us in raising support!

Email us to let us know you will be coming at info@hampshire-energy.coop

 

whitchurch