The huge success of an Exeter community energy group’s recent call for investment will make possible some significant new renewable energy projects in the region.
Stephens Scown has advised Exeter Community Energy on a range of projects, including the installation of solar panels on the roofs of buildings across the city in 2015, at Wonford Community Centre, Exeter Central Library, Great Moor House and Shillingford Organics.
With four projects under their belt, Exeter Community Energy will not be stopping any time soon. There are five projects in the pipeline which, together with the projects already installed, will have a combined capacity of 300kW. Over 20 years this is expected to generate 5,597,000 kWh, save 2,575 tonnes of CO2 and save those who own the buildings with solar panels £340,000 in electricity costs.
Exeter Community Energy’s ambitious plans require significant investment. In November of last year, the company set a target to raise £390,000 in just three weeks by offering shares in their renewable energy projects to the people of Exeter. Excitingly, the target was not just met but exceeded, demonstrating the enthusiasm and commitment of local people to becoming producers as well as consumers of energy, and taking ownership of the way the city is powered.
The aim of Exeter Community Energy is simple: to enable local people to take ownership of renewable energy projects. The group recognises the financial, environmental and social benefits that community renewable energy projects can have, together with the importance of people becoming aware of how – and how much – they use energy, in order to build a more sustainable future.
Stephens Scown has long shared this attitude, and in 2015 published a paper on Local Energy Supply focusing on assisting and advising community energy groups, such as Exeter Community Energy.
Sonya Bedford, head of the renewables team at Stephens Scown, said: “We are delighted to have been helping Exeter Community Energy’s plans come to fruition and look forward to working with them on their exciting plans for the future. The buy-in from the people of Exeter has been outstanding. Clearly, there is a great future for renewable energy projects around the region, with the community keen to share in the benefits of greener and cheaper energy supply.”
Miles Davey, a director of Exeter Community Energy said: “On the back of fantastic support from across Exeter and further afield, all at Exeter Community Energy are looking forward to welcoming our new members and exploring progress on projects to date and plans moving forward”.
On 2 March there will be a meeting at Stephens Scown’s office in Exeter for all new members, volunteers and supporters to find out more about stage one of the installations, and how to help make Exeter Community Energy a more vibrant, innovative community energy group. More details are available on the Exeter Community Energy website at www.ecoe.org.uk.