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Artist’s impression of our Jordan Dam hydro power scheme.

Hydro-electric power from the River Don in Sheffield came a step closer this week with the announcement of over £65,000 raised by Sheffield Renewables [1] from a Community Share Offer [2]. The share offer was open to those who had already expressed an interest in their hydro scheme at Jordan Dam and contributes towards the £250,000 target for community investment to build the scheme.

A further Community Share Offer will be launched to the public this winter, enabling all individuals, organisation and businesses interested in local, ethical and sustainable investing to contribute the remaining £185,000. The £65,000 also adds 55 new members to Sheffield Renewables, which is registered as a Community Benefit Society, a form of Co-operative Social Enterprise. This will be Sheffield’s second large Community Share Offer following on from the Portland Works[3] share offer launched earlier in the year.

The Jordan Dam scheme is expected to be the largest community hydro scheme in the UK to date. Once operating, Jordan Dam Hydro will generate as much energy as used by 80 typical family homes (310,000 kWh per year) [4] and save 170 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year [5].

Rob Pilling, Managing Director of Sheffield Renewables, said “The aim of the share offer was both to raise funds and to attract new members. Surpassing £65,000 was beyond our expectation at this stage, which gives added confidence in the fundraising potential of the scheme and our offer. To see so many new members involved is equally encouraging. It shows their enthusiasm and support for the project and provides vital momentum as we move to towards our public share offer this winter.”

It is anticipated that grant funding will be part of the funding mix for this half million pound project. Sheffield Renewables won through the first round of energyshare’s [6] national community renewable energy funding competition, made possible by River Cottage and British Gas. The more supporters we get registered on the website, the greater our chance of getting into the ‘Top 10’ projects that will go to a public vote to decide who gets the cash they need.

The remaining funding will come from other grant applications and loans.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

[1] Sheffield Renewables is a community and a social enterprise that develops, funds, builds, owns and operates renewable energy schemes. This means that we are run by and for local people and also that we are not-for-profit. Surplus money we earn is re-invested to support local sustainability. Much of our work is carried out by volunteers, which helps to reduce our costs.

Our schemes will contribute to city wide efforts to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for increasing local renewable energy provision. We reinforce these direct carbon savings through local outreach, communications and education. Our work also helps to strengthen social cohesion and community resilience by encouraging people to work together and share a common purpose, as well as by developing community owned assets. In pursuing our aims we work across the city for the benefit of everyone, while giving an additional focus to those areas close to our project sites.

[2] Sheffield Renewables is offering ‘Community Shares’ as a social investment for public spirited and environmentally aware individuals and organisations. The aim is to provide an attractive ethical investment opportunity: investors receive a modest return, complemented by wider social and environmental benefits. The ‘Community Shares’ concept has been developed through a joint initiative of the Development Trusts Association (now Locality) and Co-operatives UK (see their website)

[3] More information on Portland works and their share offer can be found on their website.

[4] This is based on an average UK household electricity consumption of 3,935kWh per household per year. Provided by the Energy Saving Trust (see their website)

[5] Based on a carbon dioxide emission rate of 0.537kg CO2/kWh of grid generated electricity from The Carbon Trust (see their website)

[6] Energyshare is an initiative by the organisers of River Cottage, Hugh’s Fish Fight, Chicken Out and Landshare. It acknowledges the impact that energy has on everyone’s lives and changing UK attitudes towards energy. They hope to help something really big happen by bringing together people, communities, organisations and the media. This is done through an online community, funding competition and electricity tariff from British Gas (see their website)

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