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Minutes of the Renewable Energy Generation Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Bideford, on Wednesday 25 January 2017 at 4.33 pm


South Ward:

Councillor D Brenton
Councillor J Day (Chairman)
Councillor B Wootton

North Ward:

Councillor P Christie

East Ward:

Councillor S Robinson


Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Mr J Burnyeat (Communities for Renewables CIC)
Mr J Blanchard (Communities for Renewables CIC)
Ms T Bowers (361 Energy CIC)
8 x Members of the Public


Proposed by Councillor Day, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are suspended in order to allow open discussion throughout the Meeting.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)


None were received.


There were no declarations of interest.


There was no participation from the public.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 December 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.
(Vote – For: 4, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)


a. The Chairman welcomed Mr Jake Burnyeat to the meeting advising Members that he was working with 361 Energy CIC (and the Council) on the Bideford Community Energy RCEF project.

b. Mr Burnyeat briefly introduced himself and the not for profit Company he started that works with local energy enterprises providing strategic advice: business planning, feasibility, community engagement, project development, financing, procurement and operations.

Communities for Renewables have worked with over twenty local energy enterprises, largely in the South West. They have helped raise £25 million towards community solar projects over last eighteen months. They have also worked with and advised local authorities / social landlords on community energy business models and project development.

The Broad Objectives are to reduce Co2 emissions and with efficiencies ultimately save money. He intimated that the Bideford Area spends £50 million annually on energy, all of which leaves the local economy. Originally Bideford would have generated energy locally. If Bideford generated energy locally (though an enterprise group) the money would be fed back into the (local) economy and reinvested in to community projects (in the area).

The Business Model for a local energy enterprise would see income through the sale of electricity with costs including community shares and loans (local investment returns of 5%), administrative headings including: insurance, accountancy, management and (maintenance) overheads.

Any surplus income would be re-invested in the local area e.g. community grant fund opportunities.

Mr Burnyeat then followed with details on a number of Enterprises:

1. Plymouth Energy Community / PEC Renewables:

• £1,450,000 from two share offers in 2014 and 2015 pus £1,000,000 in loan finance from Plymouth City Council.
• Funded community owned solar on over thirty schools and community buildings.
• Generating £1,200,000 in community surplus income over twenty years to help tackle fuel poverty in the city.
• Earning members a 6% per year return.

2. Ernesettle Community Solar (Plymouth):

• A large scale solar farm built on a “bomb blast” area (not suitable for human occupation!).
• £1,000,000 from share offer in 2016 pus £3,000,000 in loan finance.
• 4.1MW solar array (built in one year).
• £2,900,000 in community surplus income over twenty years targeted to help tackle fuel poverty in the city.

3. Tamar Energy Community (TEC):

• Volunteer group who worked exceptionally hard to meet finance streams.
• 300kW of roof top solar.
• Six schools and commercial buildings.
• £310,000 raised through loan finance and pending community share offer.

4. Avalon Community Energy (ACE) - Glastonbury:

• Example on the difficult challenges faced (can be complicated with difficult lease arrangments). Every roof space in the Mendip area yet only two took up the opportunity:
• One school (Brookside Academy, Street) and one commercial building (on the Evercreech Industrial estate).
• £184,000 raised through community share offer.

c. The Chairman thanked Mr Burnyeat for addressing the Meeting. He indicated that questions could be fielded following his update on the Rural Community Energy Fund Project (RCEF).


The Chairman advised that he and 361 Energy CIC representatives had visited a number of sites (including schools, leisure, community and industrial buildings) in and within close proximity Bideford as part of the feasibility study and assessment of potential involvement in the local enterprise.

He spoke of the positive responses generally, the hope to secure and develop some of the larger roof area opportunities and the importance of those larger installations to use much of the electricity generated – on their rooves. Some could be developed quickly, others had concerns of the roof structures, age of buildings, and others simply were not viable.

The Chairman invited Members to raise questions and comments that included:

• Implications / limitations on ability of National Grid to receive locally generated electricity.
o Mr Burnyeat advised that a feasibility study had to consider:
 Interest (from the occupier / owner).
 Roof suitability.
 The economics of installing the structures.
 Can the local grid take it?
 Can the Building use it?
o Given the change to the Feed In Tariffs it became imperative that the solar installation size would meet the demand of the building.
o He intimated that the grid in the south west was at breaking point and that the “network” was managed within itself although there is a move to monitor the grid on a more “real time” basis (supply and demand).
• Storage of surplus electricity (car batteries).
o Mr Burnyeat intimated that Bideford needs solar generation. However, further down the line there would be opportunities to engage / invest in new technologies: charging points, smart network providing more energy that could be diverted to factories / industrial facilities.
• Potential for use of Solar tiles.
o Less efficient.
o Cost more.
o Less mass produced.
o Complicated process.
o More practical for industrial usage.
• New building / estates should have solar panels included at the design stage prior to commencement of the build. Benefits would include cheaper more efficient installation.
o Mr Burnyeat agreed that low carbon renewables should be put in at the planning stage. This has been taken on by some towns, including Bodmin and Wadebridge who take a proactive role in local building / business plans.
• Emphasis on Solar would Bio mass be a consideration?
o Mr Burnyeat spoke on the improvements in efficiency with renewable technologies and the benefit of a broader generation including wind, solar and wave / tide. However, presently in England there will be no more on shore wind turbines nor on shore solar farms.
o It is a sensible start to use solar roof top installations as they remain viable (where the energy is being used). It is the most straightforward option: simple technology to manage, easier to engage public support (share issue); bio mass is more difficult and less easy to quantify (economically).
• Potential use of the Cattle Market – a flood zone three area, unsuitable for residential development (like Ernesettle Community Solar (Plymouth)). Quite large, situated next to school and pumping station.
o Mr Burnyeat stated that projects had been developed in flood zones, simply raising the panels.
o It had been observed that South West Water have a sophisticated energy team to develop their own solar / wind anaerobic opportunities on their own land and are willing to work with Renewable Companies on adjacent land (to their operations).

The Chairman spoke on the need for registering an operation / domain name for the Community Energy Company. He warned against tying the name specifically to Bideford although recognition of the Town would be ensured.

The Members agreed to the registering of Atlantic Community Energy (ACE).


The Chairman led the Members in discussion on the potential to introduce LED lighting to the Town Hall.

Councillor Christie gave some historical pointers on the presentation / gift of lights in the early sixties and the public opinion that forced a U turn on a subsequent change of lights. He also confirmed that an approach to the Landlord should be made in the first instance.

Proposed by Councillor Day, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That an approach be made to TDC prior to obtaining a quotation on an acceptable LED lighting solution for the Town Hall.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)


Proposed by Councillor J Day, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Meeting return to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

The Chairman, having established that there was no further business to discuss, thanked the Members for their attendance and concluded the Meeting at 6.30 pm.

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