Whilst PCP has been publicly quiet recently, behind the scenes our Directors have been working to adapt our plans to the altered landscape facing community energy since the raft of policy changes initiated after the last general election. From drastic cuts to the Feed in Tariffs (FiTs), altered tax relief status for community projects, to stricter planning controls, it has not been an easy time for small organisations to make progress, or indeed to survive.
Fortunately we have some experienced Directors who have used their particular expertise to help formulate different funding arrangements for community projects. We hope to make an announcement about two solar projects in the pipeline very soon.
Louise Marix Evans, recently elected Chair of PCP, through her business Quantum Strategy and Technology Ltd, was commissioned to look at how the recent policy changes have impacted upon the community energy sector. Her work also highlighted how much the sector has contributed to the economy through investment, jobs and rural development. 1930_PTC_Infographics_v2_Community_Energy
At the AGM in February our members agreed to donate the £1400 community benefit fund to the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s Flood Relief Fund to support the wider community as it recovers from the serious Boxing Day floods.
Our 10kW turbine is performing well, having generated enough electricity to make 2,530,845 cups of tea so far (93,735kwH since installation), saving 43.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions vs grid sourced electricity!
Since our last update, we’ve been busy working on some promising solar power projects in the community. However, due to the hastily announced Government proposals to radically scale back support for renewable energy, we are reviewing the viability of these projects.
We hope to be in a position to announce our upcoming plans before the upcoming AGM in November.
In the meantime, please note that the kWh counter on our turbine datalogger has reset itself, so that although it currently shows 7,000 plus kWh total generation we have, in fact, generated over ten times this amount since the turbine was commissioned.
After several months wait for conditions of zero wind, we were finally able to change the community wind turbine blades in July.
The old blades were found to be seriously worn on the leading edges and we believe that it was this that was the cause of a chopping noise that was audible in very high winds.
The new blades were supplied by Bergey and are a new design with stainless steel leading edges, which are far more resistant to wear.
The new blades appear to be quieter already and the tail end of Hurricane Bertha that passed through on Sunday 10th August saw very high winds without the nuisance noise. We are continuing to plan additional measures that will increase the efficiency of the turbine, including looking at using surplus energy to heat nearby houses when local grid conditions do not allow all the electricity, which can be generated, to enter the grid.
Please note also that the monitoring site for the turbine has now changed to: http://mybergey.aprsworld.com/A3684
Community Energy social
6-9pm Thursday 17th April
FREE, Fox and Goose Pub, Hebden Bridge
After four years of Fuelling Manchester we’re branching out, collaborating with friends in Calderdale to run a Fuelling North social for community energy organisations inGreater Manchester, Leeds, Calderdale and beyond!
RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Fuelling-Manchester-meetup/events/173952702/
As always, the evening is without structure or agenda, simply a chance to meet like-minded individuals working and volunteering in the community energy sector – everything from solar, wind and hydro to energy efficient retrofit and smart grids.
Whatever the technology, a community angle is required to attend.
So come along, it’s totally free and we’ll be there all evening.
NB there’s no food at the pub so think ahead.
Trains run regularly from Manchester and Leeds.
Just a quick update on our AGM which was held at the Great Rock Co-op on Saturday the 23rd November 2013. A good turnout of members heard the Directors give their annual report, the financial report and some exciting news on projects in the early stages of development. Please keep checking back for further information on our next steps.
Don’t forget you can contact Pennine Community Power by email; firstname.lastname@example.org
or look us up on Facebook.
As Pennine Community Power was in receipt of grant funding (State Aid) towards part of the installation of our community wind turbine, our Feed in Tariff payments have been suspended by OfGem, for the last few months, until this grant funding was repaid.
This situation was contrary to the advice we received at the time of installation ie that Lottery Funding was not State Aid and that even if it was then it was below a de minimis threshold. Both pieces of advice were proved to be wrong. As a result the Directors have had no choice but to negotiate with OfGem as to how much of our grant funding would need to be repaid to the Lottery. We arrived at a figure of just over £8,800 and this money, which has been raised by issuing additional share capital to existing members, has been paid to the Lottery.
We now anticipate our FIT payments being reinstated.
Unfortunately, it is likely now that the community benefit will be slightly reduced as the income of the turbine now has to service a slightly larger share capital.
For more information on FITs and State Aid, please refer to the DECC guidance which can be downloaded as a PDF here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48582/5282-feedin-tariffs-fits-and-grants.pdf
On a brighter note, the turbine itself is producing at or slightly above our predictions.
The Directors are also still pursuing modifications to the turbine with the manufacturer and installer to address the noise issues at very high wind speeds.
Following a successful AGM at the Blackshaw Head chapel, a group of the Pennine Community Power member/shareholders visited the turbine nearby, which was generating about 1.5 kWh in the light winds at the time.
Tired of watching the X factor?
There is an alternative – You can now follow the output of our wind turbine on-line at http://data.aprsworld.com/data/ps2/current.php?station_id=A3684
We have produced 57 kWh of electricity in the last 24 hours.
After a few teething problems, the Blackshaw Head wind turbine is finally up running and grid connected. You will shortly be able to monitor the output of the turbine on-line – watch this space!
28 of the 65 Pennine Community Power Limited shareholder members recently completed an on-line survey to inform the future direction of the Society. The results can be seen here.