6 Jun 2010

Stroud: A New Community-based Energy Company?

A New Community-based Co-operative Energy Company? Well this exciting prospect is getting closer to reality. Four local guys, Martin Alder, Max Comfort, Martin Large and Brian Oosthuysen are the founders and directors of the new company, Five Valleys Energy (FiVE). I am aware that a couple of people have expressed interest in this area and we may well have a meeting in the near future to explore options. Anyone else interested?

What I like about this approach is that it is feeding the benefits back to the community. Here is what they have written:

This company will be a co-operative venture and all its profits will be given to the communities within which it works. "What we want", said Brian Oosthuysen, "is a company that is answerable to the community, which the community feels is theirs and whose profits do not go into our pockets, but back to the community - in a sense, a company of the people, by the people and for the people- to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln's famous definition of democracy". Members of the community itself, after discussions with the company, will of course decide how we put money back in the community.

FiVE will be looking at all forms of renewable energy from ground source heating, hydro-power, photo-voltaics and other solar- powered systems, to wind turbines. They are looking for suitable sites for wind turbines and would like to work with local parish councils, Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire County Council and the communities they represent to develop systems which would allow the five valleys to cease to be dependent on the vagaries of foreign energy providers and, in due course, to become energy independent. They will also be working on ensuring that less energy is used by encouraging the use of insulation and solar-powered panels.

As well as this, they are looking to set up electric battery stations around the area in the next few years for the new battery-driven cars that will increasingly be coming on to the market. "China will be producing hundreds of thousands of electric-driven vehicles within the next few years", Brian explains, " and we need to be ready to provide the 21st century equivalent of petrol station for these cars". The directors foresee a situation where a person can park in a supermarket car park, plug her battery into a charger, do her shopping, and pay for the shopping and the re-charging of the car battery at the till as she comes out.

The company is still at the early stages of setting up a workable framework and is in discussion with parish councils in the Stroud area. With regard to financing, FiVE is delighted that a new Feed In Tariff for community projects such as theirs will make the projects easier to finance.

Since beginning discussions in March and early April FiVE has been pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm shown by local council leaders and looks forward to working with other members of the community.

They are very keen to discuss their plans with local people, so if you would like to contact the company, please phone Brian Oosthuysen on 872446 or contact him on oost(at) btopenworld.com and he will be pleased to answer any questions or listen to any suggestions. A website is also in the process of being set up, which would make it easier for people to contact the company.

No comments: