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.
Those interested in becoming a director of HREC are asked to contact either Robert Hutchison (01962-870082, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Andrew Thompson (07831-144525, email@example.com)
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