Everyone has an opportunity to support renewable energy on the River Don in Sheffield by taking part in a national X-Factor style vote. Local social enterprise, Sheffield Renewables , has been awarded a place in the final energyshare  vote, made possible by British Gas and River Cottage and starting today.
River Cottage’s Hugh Fernley Whittingstall says “We have already seen at energyshare.com communities who through either saving money on their energy bills or creating income through energy generation have reinvigorated community facilities. The funding available is not simply about turbines or solar PV, it’s about enabling people to make their communities more sustainable – both environmentally and economically”
Quick Steps to Vote:
1. Go to www.energyshare.com/voting
2. Left click on the word Vote that is next to ˜Sheffield Renewables
3. Follow the instructions that appear.
If you have any problems, further details on the voting process are illustrated here, in our photo album hosted on Facebook. You can view this even if you don’t have a Facebook account.
If enough people sign up and vote for Sheffield Renewables they will win £100,000 towards Jordan Dam Hydro , taking Sheffield a step closer to its first community owned water power scheme. Once up and running Jordan Dam Hydro is expected to generate as much electricity as used by 80 typical family homes , saving 170 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year . Any profits generated by selling electricity produced by Jordan Dam Hydro will be used to develop further energy projects.
Director Mark Wells said ‘We would encourage everyone to vote for Sheffield by registering support and voting for us. It is a free and easy way for people to get involved, helping to develop local renewable energy schemes. This project is driven by the enthusiasm and time contributed by our volunteers. So winning it would be an excellent way for the wider community to support them.’
This first energyshare funding competition has proved very popular throughout the country. The competition divides community renewable energy projects into three categories large, medium and small with Sheffield Renewables in the large category. Sheffield residents can also vote for Millhouses Mill Buildings , another local project based in Millhouses Park, in the small category. To promote the vote, volunteer Matt Hilton is producing an online animation and poster. Both of these will be freely available via the Sheffield Renewables website, www.SheffieldRenewables.org.uk, before the end of the week
Project Officer Cariad Thomas-Cooke said ‘Our supporters generated a hive of activity ensuring we got through the first round. It culminated in an excited office typing well into the night, trying to keep up with frantic activity on Facebook, Twitter and texts from people determined to get Sheffield Renewables enough supporters registered on the site. If this final round is anything like it, it’s a great feeling as the deadline approaches and more people get involved.’
If you get the ‘energyshare bug’ you can track the progress of your favourite schemes on the energyshare website at www.energyshare.com/groups/followers/#listing. Sheffield Renewables is currently the third most popular in the competition, with about 750 supporters. They need everyone to help them compete with Bradford ecoPower who has over 1200 supporters. Voting is open until 3rd December. It could be a very different picture in a fortnight’s time, especially if you add your support.
Sheffield Renewables has already raised over £65,000 towards developing Jordan Dam Hydro through an exclusive Community Share offer . The £100,000 from energyshare will give them the grant funding they need for the scheme to go ahead. A public share offer will take place next year, giving everyone a chance to invest and become a member. Loans will be used to cover any shortfall.
 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.
 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 made possible by British Gas and electricity tariff from British Gas (see their website)
 More information on Jordan Dam Hydro is available on this Sheffield Renewables webpage.
 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) The scheme is expected to generate 310MWh per year.
 Based on a carbon dioxide emission rate of 0.537kg CO2/kWh of grid generated electricity from The Carbon Trust (see their website)
 For more information on Millhouses mill buildings see their energyshare project page.
 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)