Despite everything, it has been a great year for BHESCo
Believe it or not it has been a great year for BHESCo
2020 will be remembered as the year of the Coronavirus pandemic. The year of lockdowns, face masks, hand sanitiser and Zoom. In most ways that matter, it has been a year we would rather forget.
For BHESCo, despite the challenges of working from home, 2020 has been a year of tremendous progress. We end the year with record staff levels and a record number of members in our co-op. We delivered our first ever ground source heat project and have completed designs for Phase One of our proposed heat network in Firle Village.
In a year full of bad news, here are a few uplifting gems to fire up your spirits for 2021.
BHESCo reach £1 million investment milestone
BHESCo's fifth community share offer came to an end on 29th February 2020 with a fundraising goal of £500,000. To our delight, we raised over £600,000 which enabled us to complete all of the community energy projects we had in the pipeline. The success of this and our subsequent share offer means that BHESCo have now raised £1.4 million of investment and have 407 members of our pioneering energy co-operative.
Ground source heating for Montessori School
During the 2020 school summer break, BHESCo successfully completed our first ever ground source heating project - an 87kW system at The Montessori Place School in Framfield, extracting heat from thirteen boreholes each 120m deep. This replaces the oil heating system that the school had previously relied on and will result in estimated carbon emissions savings of 1,000 tonnes over the lifetime of the equipment.
Firle Village heat network
Throughout 2020 BHESCo have continued to press ahead with our plans to develop a low-carbon heat network for the rural village of Firle in East Sussex. Following months of technical studies and community consultations, we have submitted our planning application with the final design for the first phase. Once approved, we will begin fundraising for this landmark project in early 2021, with work expected to begin in late spring.
A strong team with ambitious goals
BHESCo have been extremely fortunate to welcome three talented new additions to our team this year. Svenja Czubayko is a qualified retrofit co-ordinator, implementing commercial and domestic energy efficiency projects. Sofia O'Donovan keeps our financial administration running smoothly, while Roland Baldock will take over as project manager from January 2021, putting BHESCo in a strong position to reach even larger audiences for our community owned energy services.
Solar Powered Schools
BHESCo completed solar power projects for three local schools and colleges this year, including one at Brunswick Primary School which is our largest solar power installation to date. Combined together we expect these solar arrays to save the schools £15,380 each year on electricity bills while reducing carbon emissions by 1,447 tonnes over their operational lifetime, equivalent to the carbon footprint of 1,595 flights from London to New York.
Continuing to tackle fuel poverty despite lockdowns and Covid
Throughout the summer and winter months BHESCo have continued to provide free support and advice on fuel bills and home energy efficiency to the most vulnerable households in Brighton & Hove. Since the start of the pandemic, we've supported 250+ residents with switching and tariff advice and delivered free surveys to 66 homes, installing small measures to help people who live in cold and damp homes to stay warm and save energy.
In Other News...
Government finally releases Energy White Paper
After many delays the UK Government has finally launched its Energy White Paper - the policy document which sets out a road map for the decarbonisation of the energy sector. Echoing many of the points made in the Ten Point Plan, there is still no clear strategy for the decarbonisation of heat and too much emphasis on unproven technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuels. Read BHESCo's Alternative Ten Point Plan on how we can reach net zero and stimulate a green economic recovery.
BLOG: Why the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant is a bad deal for bill-payers and the planet
Plans to develop a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell in Suffolk have moved a step forward as the Government opens negotiations with French developer EDF. The new power station would use the same technology as the over-budget and heavily delayed Hinkley Point C project and may be partially financed directly by UK taxpayers presenting another government U-turn on old promises. Read more
Radical shake-up of energy market proposed
With one in seven energy bill customers now in debt to their supplier, the Government is seeking to introduce plans which will prevent households from getting stuck on expensive standard tariffs. Suggestions include automatically switching customers to a new fixed tariff once their current deal ends and encouraging the uptake of collective switching to secure more competitive rates. Read more
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Winner 2019 Regen Best Community Energy Initiative Award Winner 2019 Community Energy England Carbon Savings Award
Winner 2019 NEA Heat Heroes Award
Winner 2018 Brighton and Hove Business Awards Green Company of the Year
Winner 2016 NEA Heat Heroes Award
Winner 2016 Community Energy England Energy Saving Award