Chelwood Solar Array

Join us on Tuesday, 18 August at BRSLI, Queen Square, Bath, BA2 3AF

One of the projects we were working on when we handed over our development work was the solar array at Chelwood – to the southwest of Bath. This ambitious scheme for a 5MW array has bought together BWCE, Triodos Bank and Mongoose Energy in the setting up of Chelwood Community Energy.

The project is currently in the middle of a fund raise of £2.75 million to complete and build the installation. Underwriting has been secured for £600K meaning a minimum raise of £2.15m. As of yesterday £1.542m had been raised – well over 70% of the minimum total required.

BWCE will host an evening where you can hear a presentation about the project from the directors and ask any questions you may have. The meeting will be next Tuesday, 18 August at BRSLI, Queen Square, Bath, BA2 3AF. It will start at 6.30 and finish about 7.30pm.

All the details of the offer including the Share Offer Document can be found on the Chelwood.org website. You can also go direct to the Ethex website where you apply directly online.

All BWCE members and non-members are very welcome

Pete Capener gets MBE in New Year Honours list

Huge congratulations to our very own Chair and founder director Pete Capener on getting recognised for 30 plus years of work in the clean energy sector. He received his award of the Member of the British Empire, or MBE, in the 2015 New Year Honours list for ‘services to sustainable energy. Presumably they will be casting a special medal for him, and fellow sustainable energy champion Barbara Hammond, in recycled metal with a reused cloth bit that it hangs on.

You can read more about Pete Capener and his lifetime of toil in the clean energy vineyard here

The Bath Chronicle reported the story thus with Pete quote as saying  “I’m very pleased to have the work that we’ve been doing on community energy acknowledged, recognised and valued. It’s good to see that this is an area of activity that is regarded as important.” He went on to say it would be increasingly important for communities to take control of their energy destiny by finding sustainable ways of generating their own power.

And so say all of us – very well done Pete

New sideboard wanted

Not content with being named Leader of the Year at the UK Community Energy Awards Pete Capener, our chair, has just added another trophy to his groaning sideboard. He was voted South West Sustainable Energy Champion at last week’s ‘Renewable Futures and Green Energy Awards’ held in the Assembly Rooms in Bath. After years of work championing the once unfashionable community energy sector – congratulations Pete – you deserve it.

BWCE Fund extended

BWCE-Fund-LogoFollowing feedback we have decided to extend the time for applications to the BWCE Fund. The fund is open to local groups to apply for grants ranging from £500 to £5000 for low carbon and fuel poverty projects. The new closing date will be 23 January 2015. Quartet are administering the Fund for us so visit their website and download the Criteria and an Application Form. If you have any questions as to what does and does not qualify, or have an idea for a project you need to check out, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Third Share Offer closes early

homepage-share-offer-doc-photoIt won’t have escaped your notice that we have had a share offer running to raise £1.6 million to build the Wilmington Farm Solar Array. It all looked a bit hard going with 2 weeks to go but, as seems to happen with these things, over a £1 million flooded into Ethex in the final 2 weeks. In fact we reached our target and had to close 5 days early. So a huge thank you and welcome to all our new members and a big thank you to all our existing members who re-invested.

Sorry if you missed out – there will hopefully be another share offer in the New Year so sign up to our newsletter if you’d like to be the first to know. The lesson, as my dear old investment advisor used to say, is that ‘the early bird catches the worm’ – though the portfolio of Annelids he recommended hasn’t being doing so well of late.

BWCE mentors new groups

We are delighted to have joined the Energy Mentoring programme, led by Co-operatives UK. The new scheme helps groups navigate the often complex financial, regulatory and organisational hurdles faced by ventures looking to develop community energy projects. Read more about the Energy Mentoring programmer here or the full story from the Bath Chronicle.

Finalists in the UK Community Energy Awards

BWCE have been selected as one of the three finalists in two categories for the UK Community Energy Awards. BWCE (and all its members) have been shortlisted in the Community Organisation of the Year category. And our Chair Pete Capener for the Leader of the Year. Pretty impressive we think – so a big thank you to all our members and supporters for getting us so far, so fast. Many of them will be at the award ceremony on the 4th September in Oxford. You can read all about the awards by following the link here

The Community Energy Awards provides an opportunity for organisations and individuals to receive recognition for the work they do in helping communities take control of their energy bills and transform the energy system. So in our view all Community Energy groups should be winners. However it would be especially nice if BWCE and even more especially nice if Pete C ended up actual winners. Does anyone know a judge?

BWCE shares exemplary

Following work by BWCE chair Pete Capener – local MP and now Junior Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) cites BWCE as exemplar  at launch of Community Shares Unit – watch here about 13 minutes in. Also mentioned in notes to editors in CLG press release here. From footnote to major news item – it’s only a matter of time!