Forty rural homes off the gas grid are to benefit from support grants from Energy Savings Trust (EST) for renewable biomass and solar water heating technologies in a new community purchase scheme unique to Cumbria, run by Rural Cumbria Connects.
Established for community benefit, Rural Cumbria Connects is managed by Simon Sjenitzer and Hazel Broatch of Low Lucans Organic Research Centre (LLORC). Low Luckens Organic Resource Centre was founded in 2000 as an Industrial & Provident Society based on 220 acres of organic farmland, ancient woodland and river not far from Carlisle. LLORC works to promote sustainable farming, local healthy food and the countryside to visitors of all ages and abilities. Renewable heating is an important element of sustainable living in rural and urban areas alike, but it’s adoption in rural homes that are off the gas grid is seen as particularly important, not just in the reduction of carbon emissions from fossil fuels, but also in lowering heating costs, improving heating efficiency and quality of life.
The technologies supported in this initiative are Biomass boilers and Solar Thermal water heating systems and Rural Cumbria Connects has successfully arranged support funding from Energy Savings Trust that is significantly better than the Premium Payments previously available for householders. Under the community purchase terms the forty owner occupiers can get grants of £3000 towards biomass boiler installations , and £700 towards solar thermal panels, installed alone or in combination. According to its website,
“the Energy Savings Trust serves communities and households by giving impartial, independent and accurate advice on carbon emissions reduction, saving water, reducing energy bills and developing sustainable sources of energy.”
Simon Sjenitzer, Chairman of LLORC said “The scheme is unique and has shown what can be achieved by community organisations across Cumbria working together. We have been successful in securing over £100,000 in grants (through The Energy Savings Trust) for homeowners across Cumbria who are dependent on oil, LPG, and coal for heating their homes.” He went on to explain that the homeowners will receive their grants direct from the Government after they have installed one of the identified technologies. “Community purchasing of these technologies is expected to benefit customers and suppliers, create jobs and further encourage the developing fuel-wood supply-chain locally. There is an anticipated depth of benefit that transcends efficient home heating, free of fossil fuels.”
The UK has committed to improving energy efficiency in domestic properties and has identified rural properties in areas that are not on the gas grid as good candidates for renewable heat technologies.
Carl Bendelow, Projects Co-ordinator for Heart of Eden Development Trust has been instrumental in advancing several environmental energy projects with the Heart of Eden, including a successful Solar Photovoltaic installation and in-depth research into the feasibility of a micro-hydro electric project in the Eden. Carl said “The Heart of Eden Development Trust has an ongoing interest in promoting sustainable energy and so we’re very pleased to help rural homes switch to renewable heating. The uptake has been enthusiastic and the response shows that there’s a clear need and that our work has been worthwhile.”
Many people that Heart of Eden contacted about the RCC scheme have expressed interest in biomass boilers and solar thermal panels. In the face of rising fossil fuel prices and fuel poverty, switching to Biomass has attractive benefits going forward:
Pellets are about half the price of oil per kWh, can be bulk purchased and fed automatically from storage hoppers.
The government rewards users under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme (those who receive grants under this scheme will still be able to take part in the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive when it is introduced).
The fuel can be produced in Cumbria and surrounds, supporting local producers and reducing our dependence upon imported fuel so reducing the carbon emissions involved in “fuel miles”, and assisting local employment.
The fuel itself emits carbon from this current phase of the carbon cycle, not from past atmospheres, and is clean burning leaving a fine ash suitable for enriching gardens and sweetening acid soil. If not burnt, vegetable matter will emit carbon dioxide in the natural course of its decomposition.
Solar Thermal systems specifically assist water heating. Serving best in summer months, they require little maintenance and can contribute up to 60% of domestic annual hot water supply. More information on Solar Thermal from LOGIC’s site
LOGIC Renewables has been selected as the the preferred installer for the projects and will be installing systems over the next three months. LOGIC was selected by Rural Cumbria Connects for their experience in renewable technology installations (see Case studies) for being a local employer and investor in skills development and for their professional practice of using only industry registered and certified, CRB checked engineers with uniforms, marked vans, equipped with PDAs for independent communication with their Headquarters on Appleby’s Cross Croft Industrial Estate. LOGIC’s capability of servicing the installations and 24 hr emergency call-out also make the firm a good choice .
Kevin Hall of LOGIC Renewables said “We are very proud to be installers for Rural Cumbria Connects. Community group purchasing for renewable heating should make it accessible to more people and will also help local employment.” He went on to say “LOGIC has put renewables into community buildings, farms, hotels and residential properties. Biomass and Solar Thermal are good reliable technologies. ”
The community groups and LLORC are maintaining a reserve list for later submissions. So home owners who complete and submit the Expression of Interest (EOI) form (To download, click here to access the page) will have their interest registered and may yet be included in the event of any households dropping out, or if further funds become available. For more information on Rural Cumbria Connects please contact Hazel Broatch on 016977 48860 or Simon Sjenitzer 07796 763 816
For more information about LOGIC renewables contact:
Dave McGuiggan Renewables Manager 01228 59 8000
and view Logic’s website http://www.logic-group.co.uk
Heart of Eden
HoE has been keenly engaged in important social infrastructure and environment and development work in the Appleby area of Westmorland.
They worked on a feasibility study for a hydro electricity generation plant at Bongate weir, Appleby, Solar Photo Voltaic systems on village halls with Big Society funding, a survey of energy use in the HoE communities (the SEE study) and a DECC LEAF study for the creation of an energy node at Kirkby Thore. For more information please view the HoE website.
Project Development Officer
Heart of Eden Development Trust www.ApplebyBusinessCentre.co.uk Appleby Cumbria CA16 6QH