Rural Community Energy Fund

Projects Funded

Read more below about projects in the Greater South East region that are being supported by the Rural Community Energy Fund. For an introduction to the Fund, to find out how to apply and to view frequently asked questions, click on the menu bar or button above.

Enborne Solar Farm

Calleva Community Energy is working in partnership with the Poors Allotment Charity in Enborne, Berkshire to investigate the feasibility of building a 1-2MW solar farm on 20 acres of land owned by the charity. The Enborne community is keen to offset their collective carbon emissions, which is calculated to equate to a minimum 1MW farm. Profits from the farm will be re-invested in line with the Trust’s charitable objectives which focus on the parish of Enborne in West Berkshire. Project award: Stage 1 feasibility grant £39.9k

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Renewable Heating Ambition - Forest Row & Barcombe

Heating oil is the most common and carbon-intensive way to heat rural properties without access to the gas network. Forest Row Energy Coop is working in partnership with Barcombe Energy Group to address this issue. The organisations aim to transition rural communities in the Forest Row and Barcombe areas of East Sussex from the use of oil heating to a renewable option. This goal has gained the support of local people. The Fund is supporting Forest Row Energy Coop to engage a consultant to carry out a feasibility study involving a sample of 50 properties. The work aims to establish how to make the installation of renewable heating in rural properties viable and affordable. Project award: Stage 1 feasibility grant £39.5k

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Renewable Heating for Thames Valley Athletic Centre

Thames Valley Athletic Centre is a community sports facility and regional athletics hub in Berkshire. Its facilities include a health club, sports hall, 400 metre running track, children’s activities and meeting rooms. It is a key recreational resource for a high number of people across the local area. MaidEnergy aims to help the Centre transfer to renewable forms of energy so that it can save money and reduce its carbon impact. MaidEnergy has already proposed the installation of solar PV on the roof of the Centre. This is to be funded and owned by the local community, with the cheaper, cleaner power it produces sold to the Centre. MaidEnergy also proposes to replace the existing, outmoded gas-powered heating with a renewable ground source heat pump,with carbon and cost savings expected. The heating aspect of the project requires technical, legal and financial feasibility modelling, and this work is being supported by the Fund. Project award: Stage 1 feasibility grant £18.5k

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Cuckmere Community Solar - A World First

Cuckmere Community Solar has an ambition that its 4MW solar farm will power the railway network in East Sussex – a world first. Working in collaboration with Riding Sunbeams, the organisation intends to establish a template that can be used by other future solar-powered rail initiatives. Cuckmere Community Solar aims to enable local communities to benefit from a higher income from renewable energy generation, and for the rail network to benefit from cheaper, zero-carbon power. The Fund is providing a grant to develop their innovative project to a point where it is suitable for investment. This includes the cost of studies, land agreements and investigating the connection point. The project will be launching a community share offer to local people. Project award: Stage 2 development grant £95.5k

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Bore Place Community – Moving forward on Decarbonisation

Bore Place community in Kent is to home to both residents and rural businesses as well as being a venue for education programmes. The community has already taken steps to decarbonise its activities and has installed renewable power generation and heating on the site. Bore Place now seeks to make further progress with renewable generation to supply more power to buildings and to provide charging points for electric vehicles. A grant from the Fund will support a feasibility study to assess the technical viability of this aspiration. Project award: Stage 1 feasibility grant £21k

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Firle Renewable Heat Network

Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo) a project to transition the rural village of Firle in East Sussex from carbon intensive oil heating to renewable heating. This will be achieved by constructing a heat network, which will provide renewable heat to buildings in the village from ground source heat pumps. The energy efficiency of buildings will also be improved. Community support for the project has already been established. It is intended that the Cooperative will own, operate and maintain the network, and that ‘heat as a service’ agreements will be arranged with Firle residents, to pay for the energy efficiency and renewable heat provided. Project award: Stage 2 development grant £80.5k

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Solar-Powered Rail Networks

The Rural Community Energy Fund is supporting two further projects which seek to develop solar farms to power the local rail network. These are being developed by Community Energy South in Kent and Essex. Both are part of the Riding Sunbeams initiative. The two projects are at a much earlier stage than the related Cuckmere Community Solar rail project, so they will be able to benefit from any learning that it gains. The Fund is providing support for feasibility studies for the solar farms in Kent and Essex, which aim to establish that the selected technology is fit for purpose. Each project has been awarded a stage 1 feasibility grant of £35.5k.

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G0 Heating – Grafham, Great Staughton and Perry

The G0 or Go Zero project represents a net-zero carbon heating goal for the villages of Grafham, Great Staughton and Perry. The parish councils for the three villages are working together to find sustainable heating alternatives for all households. The project aims to protect the three communities, currently dependent on oil, from future uncertainties relating to the use of fossil-fuels, and support a sustainable future for the villages. Grant funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund has enabled the appointment of experts in engineering and community engagement to produce a feasibility study for the project. The study will focus on the technology, business case and community benefit of the scheme, to test whether a heat network is suitable for the villages. Project award: Stage 1 feasibility grant £38.6k

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Decarbonising Outwood Village

A local meeting established the existence of a significant interest to address climate change within the village community of Outwood. A committee, which is working in collaboration with the parish council, was formed to take this endeavour forward. It was decided to explore the possibility of developing renewable energy systems in the parish, to reduce carbon and benefit residents. A study is being undertaken to explore whether the village can transition from its reliance on oil and LPG for heating and hot water. A consortium of three specialist consultancies is examining the village geography and geology, the availability of land and site selection, the attitudes of residents, and the technical, financial, business and community benefits of various renewable energy options. The project is for and by the community, so the involvement of residents is key. The findings from the study will be shared with the whole village. Project award: Stage 1 feasibility grant £36k.

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