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Renewable energy from hydro-electric power on the river Don came a step closer with the announcement this week of the launch of the campaign to raise finance for the scheme at Blackburn Meadows on the Sheffield/Rotherham border. Community energy group Sheffield Renewables is launching a Community Share offer to raise the £250,000 needed to begin construction of the Archimedean screw development in 2013. Supporters of the scheme will be asked to invest £250 per share and it is hoped to raise the funds in three months with the rest of the finance being made available through commercial loans.

The scheme will generate 310,000 kWh/yr, enough for 80 homes and will save Sheffield 200 tonnes of CO2 per year. The well-known renewable energy group have been a common sight at local events, along with scale models of their projects, since 2008 when planning for the scheme started.

“With most of the work being carried out by volunteers, it has been a long journey to prepare the scheme. However, we were determined that before we asked the community for finance we would have in place most of the technical and legal work, to allow the construction to go ahead as quickly as possible. We have planning permission for the scheme and the required Abstraction Licence from the Environment Agency. We are now able to offer people firm information on the success of the project and a clear plan for its delivery,” said Dr Richard Collins, Technical Director.

Sheffield Renewables is an Industrial & Provident Society co-operative and already has raised over £50,000 last year towards the project from a share offer that was only open to its supporters. This Community Share Offer will be the latest from local organisations, with Portland Works and Hazelhurst Community Supported Agriculture already having successfully raised funds for community schemes.

“Community Shares are a way for local people to invest in schemes that might not otherwise go ahead, and to be involved in changing our city to a greener way of living. The share offer last year showed that there is an appetite in South Yorkshire for supporting renewable energy and for people to take an active part in supporting local community groups,” said Dr Mark Wells, Finance Director.

The Share Offer launch event will take place on Saturday, September 15th at 3pm at the Central United Reform Church in Sheffield. More details will appear on the Sheffield Renewables’ website: www.sheffieldrenewables.org.uk. Meanwhile anyone interested in investing can make a ‘pledge’ on the website.

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Media Contact Details

Contacts: David Berry – 07900 261743, Jean Tinsley – 0114 233 6804.
info@sheffieldrenewables.org.uk
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Editors Notes

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

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

[4] Jordan Dam Hydro Scheme: Sheffield Renewables’ initial assessment suggests that the scheme might cost around £450,000 to build and could generate around 380MWh/year. Sourcing this much electricity from hydro-electric generation rather than the national grid would save about 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Further information about our ongoing development work at Jordan Dam can be found in the Jordan Dam Hydro project section of our website.

[5] 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 the Community Shares website).

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