The Energyshare fund public vote has now closed and we are pleased to announce the four winning projects. A total of 19 community projects were shortlisted to potentially receive funding from Energyshare, an initiative from British Gas and River Cottage, and for three weeks they battled for public votes. There are four winners – two from the small project category, one from the medium project category and one from the large project category.
The North Devon Hospice is the first small project category winner; they provide free care and support to individuals and their families who are faced with life limiting illnesses. The hospice had pre-existing measures in place to reduce their impact on the environment and their maintenance costs. However, they wanted a long-term solution to reduce their energy costs in order to redirect funds to patient care and services. Funding from the Energyshare fund will now be used to install solar panels at the Hospice allowing them to generate their own energy and reduce energy bills.
The second small project category winner is Shrewsbury Hydro, a group striving to tackle climate change and diminishing oil and gas supplies by generating green electricity through the power of the River Severn. Shrewsbury can generate almost 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year from a turbine installed alongside the weir. This saves up to 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year when compared to using electricity from a conventional power station. The Energyshare funds will be used to commission the various environmental surveys that are needed before the hydro scheme can proceed.
The winner of the medium project category is the Portobello & Leith Community Wind Energy project. This community-led project aims to generate greener energy by installing a wind turbine on land at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works in Edinburgh. If successful, the project will be the first community-owned large-scale wind project in a UK city. The Energyshre initiave will now enable further studies to be completed on the area, for site investigations to take place, for the design of the turbine foundations to be completed and for planning and grid connection applications to be submitted.
Finally, the winner of the large project category is Hexham River Hydro, a 100kW community hydropower generation scheme on the River Tyne in Northumberland. The scheme will generate renewable electricity as well as secure stable funding for social and economic regeneration and community education and awareness-raising activities. The funding supplied by the Energyshare initiative will be spent on the next stages of development – detailed design, environmental impact work, planning permissions and construction itself.
On behalf of all of the groups shortlisted and the Energyshare initiative, thank you to everybody who voted. The money will make a huge difference to all of the winning projects as well as their respective communities. To find out more about the campaign and the winners, visit their website.