As part of the process of increasing the sustainability of our community we intend to establish an Energy Services company. This will most likely take the form of a Community interest company (CIC) and it will be tasked with the expansion of renewable energy generation to reduce the communities Carbon footprint and reliance upon energy imported from the national grids.
The cooperative will make a review of the local environment, both built and natural to see what potential there is for projects utilising the natural resources of the Sun, wind and water. The scope for Hydro power installations within the boundaries of the town are minimal due to being so close to the rising of the River Welland and the planned re-naturalisation and removal of the weirs along the river course in the town.
The projects would be individually financed as the projects are developed through a combination of Community Share options, grant funding and eventually it is hoped from revenue derived from previous installations. Community share options present the opportunity to engage the community on two levels; they give the community a chance to feel ownership of a project and also allow for investments which yield higher returns than are available on the high street.
Transition Leicester have already had funding from the DECC Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF) and have established their own ESCO called Green Fox. It is proposed that this Community ESCO will share its learning and act as a consultant for the first steps of founding an ESCO here in Harborough.
Ideas for prospective projects are encouraged from all quarters but a few ideas have already been proposed and are being investigated, these ideas include:
- 50 KW solar array on the Market Hall
- Solar of the Football and Rugby club houses
- Leisure centre
- Anaerobic Digestor unit at the J.G.Pears site
An additional service that could be provided as part of the proposed AD facility could be a Trade food waste collection service the product of which would be used as an additional feedstock for the AD facility. Conversations with local public house and restaurant managers show that there would be a keenness to adopt this service due to the high costs associated with collections from the main waste collectors.
This service could be delivered by employing two modified electric vehicles that were previously used as milk floats, a visual statement of sustainability as they perform their duties around the town.
We will always seek to use local suppliers where possible and have found three potential local installers so far:
ESCO’s such as we are proposing are already being created by other Transition groups and here is a small selection