Skip to main content

Minutes of the Renewable Energy Generation Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Bideford, on Thursday 21 April 2016 at 1.00 pm


North Ward

Councillor P Christie

South Ward:

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

East Ward:

Councillor J McKenzie

Community Energy Group

James Craigie


Mr R D G Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
1 x Public


Councillor S Robinson (East Ward – personal).


There were no declarations of interest.


There was no public participation.

016.    MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 December 2015 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)



Proposed by Councillor Day, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are suspended in order to allow Members of the Public to address the Meeting.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

a. Summary of the Regen SW fair in Exeter on 17 March with potential for future projects. The Chairman reported that there was a proliferation of community groups and businesses in attendance many promoting potential technologies with commercial opportunities for Devon.

Referencing LED Lighting opportunities for the Pannier Market he spoke of a new generation of efficiency opportunities:


• A machine that turns any food waste to biofuel within twenty four hours. Potential cafés / restaurants.
• Miscanthus. (Elephant Grass) is a high yielding energy (farming) crop and popular biofuel.

Councillor Christie confirmed that Farmers were keen on the Elephant Grass; the process turns it into a form of wood chip, although the NFU were less supportive.

He also noted that the Holsworthy (Summerleaze) Biogas Plant is taking food waste from across Torridge.

• The Chairman highlighted a heating company (Minus Seven) who can provide heat energy from a “cold sink” – heat reservoir – where the transference from minus seven degrees storage to twenty one degree temperatures can be achieved. He described the process as similar to solar pv thermal but at very low temperatures.

Minus Seven are looking for suitable properties to develop the technology; Councillor Brenton spoke of the possible benefit to Westward Housing Association as they are soon to redevelop some properties.

The Chairman added that the equipment was the equivalent size of a Mini Car.

• Ethical Banking. The Chairman gave details of the “world leading” sustainable Tridos Bank who only lend money entrusted to them by savers and investors to organisations that benefit people and the environment. He speculated on Councils / local authorities investing their “reserves” in an Ethical group.

• Phase Change Material (PCM). The Chairman stressed that PCM would be a major renewable player over the next thirty years. He provided an example of a liquid, having been previously heated, subsequently activated would provide a credible heat source; a device to store latent energy.

Mr Craigie and the Chairman spoke about a New Model Community Meeting where groups were advised that as an alternative to subsidies Community (Owned) Energy groups will work but with careful / precise execution.

Councillor Brenton stated that the Banks are reluctant to lend money for Renewable Energy projects. Mr Craigie wondered whether the aforementioned Tridos might take the lead.

b. Responses to the Council's letter requesting sites for the portfolio.

The Chairman was encouraged by the responses to date and highlighted the thrust that the President of the Chamber of Commerce provided with a large business based distribution.

Both the Public and Private sector provided positive responses; the Chairman had spoken to a number of potential parties including the DCC Energy officer who knew 361 CIC and was keen for DCC property to be considered; he expressed support towards the Community Renewable programme.

South West Water were also supportive; the Treatment Plants outside Appledore and Bideford having potential for inclusion.

The Chairman had been in discussion with Andrew Waite. TDC have installed their own systems at Caddsdown and Riverbank House but the Chairman identified Torridge Swimming Pool (south facing / large power user) and Appledore Fisheries as prospective sites.

The Chairman invited the TDC Councillors to put forward a Motion to encourage support from the District Council for the “no cost, no risk, none controversial” Community Energy enterprise. He confirmed the support of Northam Town Council (in addition to Bideford).

Councillor Brenton highlighted the success story of Wadebridge and encouraged the Chairman to organise a visit – the Chairman acquiesced.

While the Chairman noted the reluctance of the supermarkets to become involved, Councillor Christie confirmed that, without housing regulation directives, developers could not be coerced into building properties with renewable energy facilities.

c. Recent meeting with 361 CIC in taking the project forward.

The Chairman had a very positive meeting with 361 Energy CIC directors: Mr Thomas Store and Mr Paul Rogers. Buoyed by the level of interest (from portfolio respondents / feasibility study) they confirmed their intention to pursue the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) grant application (up to £20,000) to pay for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project and business model.

The Application will be staffed by Councillor Day as the first contact and two 361 CIC personnel; it will be in the name of 361 CIC, who will receive the payment. The monies will pay for a full feasibility report and relevant contractors for legal / planning (expert) provision.

The Chairman stressed it was key to understand the relationship between the Council / himself, 361 Energy CIC and the RCEF grant application. He explained that he could potentially draw some of the payment, as a self-employed (qualified) Energy Adviser, when compiling reports during Site visits;  there would be no cost to the Council.

Councillor Brenton stressed that the Chairman needed to make his position crystal clear, providing documentation support that would stand scrutiny. He advised that he write to the (TDC) Solicitor.

The Chairman assured Members of the arrangement, reiterating the sincerity of his work, to date, in progressing the Project. He will next be working with 361 CIC personnel in providing the documentation to support the RCEF grant application. He provided a timeline / process:

Phase I: On receipt of the funding contracts will be put in place to obtain:

• Professional studies.
• Quotations.
• Legal advice.
o Community Share issue.
• Logistics.
o Sunlight assessment / KwH conversion.

The Feasibility will take up to six months.

The Chairman would welcome support from the local authorities towards the Community venture.

Phase II will see the launch:

• Identification of installation sites (solar pv).
• Capital fund raising.
o Share issue to Community Energy Group (looking for a return).
 Panels purchased.
• Sale of electricity.

Additional profits could be used to fund energy efficient measures for low paid residents / those suffering fuel poverty.

Councillors Brenton and Christie stressed the need for a clear document that should be presented to the (TDC) Solicitor.

The Deputy Town Clerk reminded members of Minute Number fourteen from the December 2015 Minutes where:

“Councillor Brenton believed that there would need to be clear detail and understanding of the set up group, the role of Bideford Town Council within it, the propositions and the partnerships.”

The Chairman confirmed his understanding. He explained that while a feasibility study would indicate the merit of an installation and, where positive, the most effective siting of equipment a potential risk could see an establishment “go it alone”.  In order to guard against the possibility an energy contract would be drawn up to secure commitment.

The Chairman believed that the funding could be received in June / July 2016 with the process seeing panels installed by Spring 2017.

Citing Wadebridge and Transition Totnes (where minimum share issue holding was believed to be twenty pounds) the Chairman highlighted the opportunity for Bideford to take the lead in Community based Renewable Energy.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That Bideford Town Council continues to work in partnership with 361 Energy CIC to progress the Rural Community Energy Fund Grant application.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)


The Chairman indicated that, in addition to the two timeline phases covered in the previous item, Members should seek to identify additional sites, noting any new developments / industrial units (in the pipeline). The Project needs to be promoted; information must be circulated in the Community especially in the light of making the share issue offer.

Councillor McKenzie speculated on installing car charging points and wondered at the potential for novel ideas such as canopies with electric charging points sited in car parks, possibly next to the Pannier Market. “Brown signs” could be introduced to direct people from the A39 to Bideford.

Councillor Wootton did not believe there was a need for planning permission for electric charging points. The Chairman thought that there was potential for separate grant funding for solar / electric charging points.

Councillor McKenzie further speculated on renewable energy applications that would see benefit to the working Port.


Proposed by Councillor D Brenton, 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 2.12 pm.

© Bideford Town Council 2015 Gingerweb Ltd site design and SEO In North Devon