Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative is launched!

Press Release

At last people in Hampshire will be able to directly benefit from the generation of locally produced renewable energy, as one of the county’s first energy co-operatives is launched.

Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative Limited (HREC),  has been formed to maximise co-operative and community ownership of new renewable energy generation in the county, and to provide an information about all aspects of renewable energy.

Martin Heath, HREC spokesperson, comments: “As one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, co-operatives are more common than most people believe. Co-operatives are a well-proven model for community energy ownership that is democratic, accountable and transparent. They are the dominant form of ownership for energy schemes in Denmark and Germany, and many successful schemes have already been set up in other parts of the UK.”

HREC will continue to campaign for the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm, and is in talks to purchase a 10% share of the wind farm from EDF Energy Renewables.

The Co-Operative Model

Using the co-operative model, local people will be given the opportunity to buy shares in the wind farm and earn a fair interest on their investment. The Co-op plans to make a surplus which will be ploughed back into the local community. Martin says “Our aim is to firstly ensure that the co-op members get a decent share of the revenues generated from the wind farm and then to make sure all surplus money is re-invested back into the local community”. The Co-op will use surpluses, for example, to install solar panels on community buildings, or for the installation of efficient insulation in schools or village halls.

Martin continues: “All renewable energy schemes have costs and benefits, and community ownership allows us to bring back those benefits to the county. All the financial benefits of energy generated at the moment leave Hampshire and often go to the energy company shareholders, banker and investors outside of the UK. Using our model, the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm will allow us to improve the county’s energy usage for many years and to keep some of the financial benefits for ourselves.” He continues, “it will make Hampshire and cleaner and greener place to live”.

– ENDS –

 

Letters of support in the press

HREC (formerly known as Hampshire Energy Group) has been pleased to see many positive press reactions and Letters to the Editors of our local papers over the last few weeks.

Below you can read several of the articles that we have scanned in:

andoverletter2 andoverletter

gaz_letter andover_advertiser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina

Facts about Bullington Cross – letter response for Basingstoke Gazette

Dear Sir

basletterI hope you will allow me to respond to Mr Hulme’s letter of 4th July. Here are both some facts and the evidence for them.
Over the last year UK wind farms have produced enough electricity to power over 5 million homes.

  • Wind farms operate about 70% of the time and work at 27% of their rated capacity. This is as good as or better than coal, gas, oil or nuclear fuelled power stations.
  • Wind farms pay back all the energy used in their construction and manufacture in about six to nine months.
  • Wind farms receive no taxpayers’ subsidy.
  • The only support for wind farms comes from the electricity industry itself through a mechanism called renewable energy certificates. These certificates are bought and sold in an open market; they are not subsidised.
  • Wind farms are profitable. That’s why electricity companies want to build them.
  • HREC (formerly known as Hampshire Energy Group) intends to become a co-operative that will have a share in the Bullington Cross Wind Farm.
  • All the profits made by the co-op will be returned to its members and the local community. Anyone can become a member of the co-op and we hope the vast majority will be us local people.
  • The Co-op will make money – but for the local community not just for distance shareholders and global banks.
  • The evidence for these statements can be found at www.hampshire-energy.coop; www.decc.gov.uk and www.renewableuk.com.

The above are facts. Can I ask Mr Hulme provide the source of his “beliefs”. I look forward to his reply.
Yours faithfully.

Martin Heath
Millennium Court Basingstoke
On behalf of Hampshire Energy Group

How Government Support for Wind Farm Planning can help Bullington Cross

Hampshire Energy Group (HEG) supports the Energy’s Secretary’s view that wind farming is as much a local community issue as a national one.

Martin Heath, Spokesperson for HEG, comments: “We believe the costs and benefits of wind farming need to be equitably shared. The benefits from wind farming need to flow to local communities as well as to more distant developers, banks and shareholders. This is precisely what HEG is about – capturing the benefits of wind farming for the local community.”

The announcement also further reinforces the need for the local community to continue to support the wind farm at Bullington Cross. 64% of people in the UK support wind farms; only 11% oppose them. We are confident that local people in Hampshire will be keen to show their support for wind farming and ensure its benefits are felt locally in Winchester, Andover and Basingstoke.

Martin Heath continues: “Wind farming is efficient, cost-effective, renewable, modern clean and quiet. The alternatives are not.”

“Bullington Cross is the ideal site for a wind farm. It is remote, on the cross-roads of our counties two busiest A roads, the nearest village is 3 km away and it’s windy. And it’s not in an area of outstanding natural beauty; nor is it in a National Park. On this basis Bullington Cross is one of the best places in the county for a wind farm.”

To ensure that we Make Hampshire Greener, supporters can log onto www.hampshire-energy.co.uk where they can use a simple web form to make their views known to the local planning officers.

 

Turbine Envy – response to a letter in the Andover Advertiser

Written in Response to a letter published in the Andover Advertiser – helping to dispel myths around Wind Farming at Bullington Cross

Dear Sir

Turbine Envy

May I respond to Paddy Keenan’s letter of 11th June with some facts? Wind farms are clean, cheap, efficient and modern. They do not receive subsidies from the taxpayers and they are no more or less subsidised than other forms of power generation and they reduce our reliance on dirty expensive imported oil, gas and coal.

Hampshire Energy is a group (HEG) of experienced individuals – all of whom who have had successful careers in their own chosen fields – who are passionate about developing a stronger, healthier and more prosperous local economy.

Very soon HEG will become a co-operative owned by its members and run for the benefit of our community. It is our firm intention that, following detailed negotiations with EDF, the Co-op will share in the revenues of the wind farm and will make a profit. The profit will be paid back to the members or re-invested in LOCAL renewable energy projects creating jobs and reducing costs of energy for us all.

Wind farmers are like any other business; they make a product (electricity and renewable energy certificates) which they sell at a profit. Some of that profit, just like in any successful business, is used to pay for investment. The big difference is co-operative wind farms keep the profits for the benefit of their community; not for the benefit of multi-national shareholders and global banks.

HEG think it is fair that the benefits of wind farming should be shared with all the local community. Of course others disagree with us; and want to see the benefits go to others. But that’s up to them.

If you want to learn more about how to make Hampshire greener, share in the benefits of wind farming or join us then visit www.hampshire-energy.coop.

Yours faithfully

Martin Heath on Behalf of HEG; Making Hampshire greener.
Innovation Centre, Norden House, Basingstoke RG21 4HG

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina

Support for Government Community Energy Schemes

Local community organisation, Hampshire Energy Group, has placed its support behind this week’s Government announcement on community energy schemes.

Martin Heath, spokesperson, Hampshire Energy Group, comments: “Increased generation of energy from renewable sources owned by local community schemes helps to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of renewable energy.”

The Group would like to see local and central Government make it easier for community energy groups to be able to establish themselves, with clear guidance on best practice and full Government support and guidance fed down through local authorities to ensure community energy schemes are given priority.

Bullington Cross
Hampshire Energy Group is already working closely with EDF Energy Renewables in order to bring a 10% ownership stake for the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm, on the junction of the A34 and A303 near Sutton Scotney.

Martin Heath continues: “We are in negotiations with the developer to ensure that we can bring the benefits of a local wind farm into our local communities. We recognise that all forms of power generation have costs and benefits, but community ownership will allow us to mitigate the costs with large benefits to the surrounding areas.”

The Group is intending to create a new co-operative by the end of July 2013, allowing members to invest in the proposed Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative, with funds being used to purchase a 10% share in the wind farm.

Revenue from this will be distributed back to the members, and surpluses reinvested back into the local community, for example, to fund local renewable energy schemes, such as solar panels on community buildings. .

How to make a difference
Hampshire Energy Group is asking people to help show their support for the proposed wind farm, by emailing local planning officers at the three councils – Basingstoke and Deane, Winchester City Council and Test Valley Borough Council.

 

Government Announcement on Wind Farms

Hampshire Energy Group (HEG) supports the changes announced by HMG this week on wind farm planning.  It reinforces the view that wind farming is as much a local community issue as a national one. 

HEG believes the costs and benefits of wind farming need to be equitably shared. The benefits from wind farming need to flow to local communities as well as to more distant developers, banks and shareholders.  This is precisely what HEG is about – capturing the benefits of wind farming for the local community.

It also further reinforces the need for the local community to continue to support the wind farm at Bullington Cross. 64% of people in the UK support wind farms; only 11% oppose them.  We are confident that the people of Hampshire will make the view known about the benefits to us all of wind farming

Wind farming is efficient, cost-effective, renewable, modern clean and quiet. The alternatives are not.

Bullington Cross is the ideal site for a wind farm.  It is remote, on the cross-roads of our counties two busiest A roads, the nearest village is 3 km away and it’s windy.  And it’s not in an area of outstanding natural beauty; nor is it in a National Park.  On this basis Bullington Cross is one of the best places for a wind farm in the county.

If we in Hampshire want to make our county greener than we need to support the community ownership of the Bullington Cross wind farm.

 

Photo Credit: Maurice McDonald/PA Wire

Launch of Hampshire Energy Group

A community energy organisation has been launched in Hampshire, aiming to bring local ownership to the proposed new wind farm at Bullington Cross near the junctions of the A34 and A303.

Hampshire Energy Group, set up by volunteers from Winchester Action on Climate Change and the Andover and Basingstoke Transition Networks, is in negotiations with operator EDF Energy Renewables to agree a 10% community ownership of the proposed wind farm development.

Martin Heath, a Hampshire Energy Group spokesman says “We want to ensure that our community benefits from the operation of the proposed wind farm at the Bullington Cross site. This is a great opportunity for local people to take an ownership stake in what will be one of Hampshire’s largest renewable energy developments.”

Hampshire Energy Group intends to become a ‘co-operative’, based on many successful community energy ownership schemes in the UK, allowing people in Hampshire to invest in, and become members of, the organisation.

The Wind Farm
Situated at the cross roads of two of the county’s busiest roads, the wind farm will be made up of 14 wind turbines, within the planning authorities of Winchester City Council, Test Valley Borough Council and Basingstoke and Deane Council.

Martin Heath explains: “Bullington Cross is one of the most suitable sites in Hampshire for a wind farm. The farm is situated at one of the busiest road junctions in the county, is 3km away from the nearest village, is not in a national park or in an area of outstanding natural beauty and the land can still be used for farming as it is now. And it’s one of the windiest places in Hampshire.”

Hampshire Energy is encouraging local people to support the scheme for community ownership, and to submit their support to their local council planning department. “Letting local councils know our opinions is important” says Martin. “Details of how to do this are on our website at www.hampshire-energy.co.uk”

A proposed co-operative
Tina Lewis of HEG continues: “We firmly believe that no technology can be purely ‘green’ as every source of energy has costs and benefits associated with it. We just need to ensure that the benefits are shared out fairly. Often it is the local community that take the costs and the inconvenience whilst the developers take the benefits. With community ownership benefits are shared more fairly.” In Winchester alone the annual spend on energy is over £450 million with the majority of money going straight out of the country into the pockets of international firms. The aim of HEG is to ensure some of this money stays within the local community.

Martin say’s “Most of Hampshire’s electricity is generated outside of the county. Our proposed co-operative will make us all investors in wind-farming, influencing how it is run, allowing us to make our own electricity locally and reducing our reliance on imported gas, oil and coal.”

The proposed co-operative will allow local people to invest in the wind farm and to receive a fair return on that investment. Additional money made by the co-op will be invested back into the local community. All members of the co-op will be able vote for how such funds will be used to benefit the local community. It is envisaged that this will help organisations such as local schools, churches and voluntary groups to install free renewable energy systems, as well as providing more efficient power and heat to the local community.

About Hampshire Energy Group
Hampshire Energy Group has been formed with the aim of speeding up the transition of energy generation away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources of energy, such as solar, wind, water and biomass. Working to establish a range of renewable energy generation projects in the county, the Group aims to maximise co-operative and community ownership and the benefits which come from this for the good of local people.

For more information, please browse around the website.

Note: In 2014 Hampshire Energy Group became Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-op

Common Concerns about Wind Power

The British government is committed to meeting its obligation to get 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 under European agreements. While recognizing that saving energy and using energy more efficiently should be the top priorities, there are arguments for and against all forms of energy generation.

Hampshire Energy Group is committed to promoting the community ownership of renewable energy – including wind energy – on appropriate sites in the County.

There are many evidence-based analyses and academic studies of the social, environmental and economic aspects of wind power. These are summarized in ‘Common Concerns about Wind Power’, published by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE); and available here:
http://www.cse.org.uk/downloads/file/common_concerns_about_wind_power.pdf

Some key quotations from this publication follow:
‘The average wind farm is expected to generate at least 20-25 times the energy required in its manufacture and installation over its lifetime’.

‘All forms of large-scale [energy] generation –whether low carbon or conventional – receive some kind of state support…The evidence demonstrates that wind energy is already competitive with conventional electricity generation over the lifetime of the plant. Fossil fuel prices are set to increase .the relative price of wind energy is likely to become even cheaper’.

‘Wind power is an efficient way to generate electricity, employing a free energy source that is also renewable’.

‘The UK continues to offer the best wind resource in Europe’.

‘Wind power is an intermittent source of energy when focusing on isolated sites…[but] the resilience of a distributed network of wind turbines can…be considered superior to large conventional plants that may go offline without warning…(nuclear plants must shutdown completely if there is a serious fault)’.

‘Onshore wind is currently the cheapest way for the UK to meet its legally binding commitments to cut CO2 emissions’.

‘The nuclear power industry in the UK and abroad has been traditionally beset with problems involving the start-up, operation and decommissioning of nuclear plants, resulting in economic inefficiency and threats to public health. The long start up time required to make a nuclear power station operational means that nuclear power is irrelevant to the UK’s target to cut CO2 emissions by 2020.’

‘There is compelling evidence that most residents who come into contact with them on a regular basis do not find the presence of wind farms objectionable. Provided the benefits to both the community and wider society are properly explained and taken on board, most people display a surprisingly unselfish view of the need for such installations’.

‘In recent years, estate agents and surveyors have begun to accept that data on house purchases clearly show there is no lowering of house prices caused by wind turbines’.
‘The wind energy industry has one of the best safety records of any energy industry’.

‘Detailed guidelines form part of UK planning regulations to prevent undue noise pollution. These, coupled with the quieter design of modern turbines, mean that the noise levels generated by wind farms are comparable to outdoor background noise… It is up to the wind energy industry and its supporters to be honest about any noise concerns local residents might have, and to work with them to minimize these affects within the framework of the planning regulations (designed for exactly this purpose)’.

Wind Power in the UK
Another authoritative source of information about wind energy – though now eight years old – is the Sustainable Development Commission report, Wind Power in the UK available here:
http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/data/files/publications/Wind_Energy-NovRev2005.pdf

Onshore Wind Energy
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, has made a rigorous analysis of the most up-to-date evidence about onshore wind energy and concludes that wind ‘is currently the cheapest renewable technology in the UK, but it raises potential local environmental issues, and, as such, more expensive renewable technologies may be more attractive’. However in its policy brief The case for and against onshore wind energy in the UK, June 2012, available here:
http://www2.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publications/Policy/docs/PB-onshore-wind-energy-UK.pdf

The Grantham Research Institute concludes that ‘onshore wind clearly has a role to play in the UK’s future energy mix’.

Conclusion
The Hampshire Energy Group (HEG) shares the views – expressed in Common Concerns about Wind Power – that ‘the increasing presence of wind farms across the country means that communities everywhere will need to address the issues surrounding wind power’ and that ‘keen proponents of wind power are sometimes too quick to dismiss any problems raised’.

The Group takes the view that – provided that real community benefits flow from the proposed wind farm – the overall balance of the arguments for and against the construction of 14 large turbines at Bullington Cross comes down in favour of developing a wind farm on that site.

HEG wants to see EDF Energy Renewables making available substantial funds for annual investment in the local parishes through a local Trust Fund, and a high degree of community ownership of the turbines. HEG is in negotiation with EDF Energy Renewables to achieve these objectives.

 

Photo Credit: Sheila Peacock

Letter published in Basingstoke Gazette

Dear Mark,

Wind farming is the cheapest way to renewably generate electricity; it is cheaper than nuclear.

Wind farming is clean; it does not produce greenhouse gases; it does not produce soot, or emit Nitrous Oxides, Sulphur Dioxide, fly ash or Mercury. Wind farming is efficient; the wind is free and wind farms produce energy 70% of the time. Wind farming is quiet and produces less noise than an A road.

Old fashioned power stations built in the last century produce 40% of the UK’s Carbon Dioxide emissions. They are dirty, inefficient and reliant on imported coal, oil and gas.

People in North Hampshire support wind farming. At a national level only 11% of people are opposed to on-shore wind farms.

Bullington Cross is one of the few places in Hampshire suitable for wind farming. It is isolated, windy and at the junction of two of the county’s major roads. The nearest large village is 3km from the site.

In Hampshire we have a choice. We can support the construction of a wind farm at Bullington Cross which will generate electricity cleanly, cheaply, renewably and from locally available resources.

Or we can do nothing and leave the pollution for our children and grandchildren to clean up.

Doing nothing it not an option. We need to let our local council know that wind farming is something we, our children and our grandchildren need.

Learn more and find out how to register your support at www.basingstoketranstion.org.
Yours sincerely

Martin Heath