Winning funding for renewables projects

Volunteer-run cooperative Rame Renewable Energy (RRE) secured £40,000 for a number of research projects and reports after receiving assistance from the University of Exeter.

Staff at the University’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) worked with the cooperative, set up to combat the challenges of climate change and rising energy prices, to access  funding and academic support.

Knowledge Exchange Manager Alex Huke spotted the first opportunity to lend support.

He said: "RRE needed to be recognised as a legal entity to bid for funding - the first step was to get them registered as an Industrial and Provident Society, or IPS."

Alex then guided the cooperative to a successful funding bid from the Energy Saving Trust and the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (now BEIS), enabling them to start work.

Dr Dan Lash of the Centre for Energy and Environment produced a desk-based assessment of existing building stock and energy consumption across the five Rame Peninsula parishes after being commissioned by RRE. Methods of generating renewable energy were then assessed and prioritised on the basis of carbon emissions and potential economic, social and environmental impact.

Further support came from sustainable energy experts Anient Ltd, who carried out a series of in-depth studies of typical homes and commercial buildings on the Peninsula to establish which energy-saving measures would be most effective and economical.

The findings of this work have been disseminated at meetings for Rame residents – Dr Lash spoke at a recent event. The cooperative have also secured solar power for a local school.

RRE Chairman Dr Kevin Mattholie explained how the ESI has helped saying: "Working with the ESI gave us access to independent expertise to successfully attract funding. This allowed us to complete a baseline study, presenting the clear evidence and research that will enable RRE to move forward in developing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the Rame Peninsula."

The ESI is continuing to help RRE to secure a Big Lottery Fund's Communities Living Sustainably proposal led by Community Energy Plus, along with other local organisations such as Polperro United Renewable Energy and Fowey Renewable Energy Enterprises.