For transparency, Martin Large and James Mansfield, whilst serving as Ecodynamic Directors, are also founding Directors of Gen Community.
This is an invitation to potential members of Gen Community’s latest community share offer, Staffordshire Sunny Schools. This is Gen Community’s second project after Newport Solar which supported homes in fuel poverty in Wales. Gen Community is a mutually owned social enterprise and raises capital from members by offering a fair financial return, in addition to social and environmental impacts.
The Staffordshire Sunny Schools project aims to install solar PV on 25 schools and will have an immediate impact on 15,000 children, saving schools across Staffordshire over £90,000 per annum. In a time of energy price rises and strains on public services this really is power from the people! Gen Community is working with a local community benefit society Southern Staffordshire Community Energy to deliver the community fund projected at £170,000 – £350,000 over the project lifetime. This is the largest community funded schools project to date in the UK, with a target capacity of 1MWp.
Geoff, our hardworking Endurance wind turbine at Croft West was nearly struck by lightening in a spectacular New Year’s Eve storm at Redruth, which covered the ground in hailstones, struck the neighbouring turbine, and fused the local area grid.
Geoff’s fuses, some operating software and the local grid had to be repaired, by locally based Capture Energy, ably co-ordinated by our Technical Director, James Mansfield. As Geoff was down for more than 5 days, we are claiming under our insurance policy for repairs and for down time. We can claim for lost income if more than five days generation is lost.
We hope that such acts of God don’t happen again! I must say, as I was visiting Geoff specially to say hello on January 2nd, I was surprised to see him taking a holiday
Here is a photo of Geoff Watson Phd, one of the pioneers of small scale wind turbines.And here are some photos taken in September 2013 of the wind turbine at Croft West named after Geoff, with its twin turbine in the background-some of the staff of Capture Ltd bought the latter as their pension fund!
It is our pleasure to have sent out Share Certificates to members with their names and details appearing as entered in our Ecodynamic Share Register on 17th October 2013.
We are delighted to inform you that the £75,000 loan from Resonance Community Land and Finance fund was finalised in late September following a detailed process of agreeing documentation. Many thanks to all concerned from Ecodynamic and Resonance in concluding the loan from the Community Land & Finance CIC. It took considerably longer than we had initially anticipated but the pioneering joint BDLT / CLF mortgage is in place and the loan monies have been disbursed to Ecodynamic.
The project has so far raised over £180k in community shares equity and loan financing from previously unconnected investors (now members), with the balance coming from the Biodynamic Land Trust and the Resonance CLF fund. Ecodynamic has now issued the new EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) eligible equity and we are delighted to enclose your Ecodynamic share certificate.
Interest has been accruing on your shares since 1st July 2013, or the date received if more recent.
To update you on what has been happening:
1. ‘Geoff Watson’, the Croft West wind turbine has progressed to the final stages of the OFGEM accreditation and we expect final accreditation shortly. The total generation now stands at 30,000 kWh since commissioning. Following relatively low wind speeds over the summer period, wind speeds are now picking up, with 10,000kWh being generated in a 4 week period since the 7th September.
2. We have raised:
£188,700 in shares (including £25k from the BDLT)
£20,000 in private loans
£75,000 loan from Resonance Community Land and Finance fund
£75,000 loan from the Biodynamic Land Trust Ltd
The initial project financing was provided by the Biodynamic Land Trust and the money raised in shares and loans has been used to repay the BDLT.
3. The 4 month full application period for EIS started from the date of the turbine transfer to Ecodynamic in early September. After the 4 month period, EIS1 will be completed and sent to HMRC. Once HMRC inform us of their acceptance of the EIS paperwork, an EIS2 form is issued with sufficient EIS3 forms for us to send to you to claim your tax relief. All being well, all certificates that you will need to submit with your tax returns will be issued before the end of this tax year.
4. Share Offer: any further share investment from new members that comes in this calendar year will be counted as founding shares and interest accrue from the date of the investment. We may be launching a new share offer in January 2014 to help pay off loans for Croft West/Geoff Watson so keep the news circulating that shares are available. When we identify a new project, we will then raise a new Share Offer for that project.
Please note that we will have an AGM on 6th September 2014, as the year end is the end of March 2014.
Once again, many thanks for all your assistance and support in bringing this community project to life. Do not hesitate to phone me on if you have any questions on 01453 757124 on most Thursdays, or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours Sincerely, Martin Large
PS. I visited Croft West, near Redruth, Cornwall in September and “Geoff” was twirling away happily in a gale..a year from considering starting up Ecodynamic to developing a successful first project is quite an achievement, for which thanks to everyone, especially members who have made it possible.
On Friday 7th June, the Ecodynamic Endurance turbine was commissioned successfully. It is now operational and feeding electricity into the grid. The share offer is now closed and we are very pleased to announce we have raised over £168,000 from private investors. Thank you for your support and investment in this exciting project. Your share certificate will be printed and sent out shortly.
High winds, of all things, led to some delays to construction, however the brief spell of good weather allowed for the project to be completed successfully by Capture Energy. Western Power Distribution has installed the grid connections, transformers and their engineers signed-off the project on commissioning day. The OFGEM registration process is being completed for the Feed in Tariff (FiT) and generation certification. We expect our first FiT payment within four months.
The Ecodynamic turbine has been registered under the name ‘Geoff Watson’ after the well known renewable energy pioneer who sadly passed away in March 2012. Geoff is recognized as a founding father of the UK wind sector having become the proud owner of a Lucas-Freelite small wind turbine in 1974. He went on to complete a doctorate in wind energy, spent a career championing the sector across the globe and founded the British Wind Energy Association.
The delays in construction allowed us to extend the Share Offer until June 15th. Including investments from charities, we have raised over £210,000. The balance of the financing has been provided by the Biodynamic Land Trust and the Resonance Community Land & Finance CIC. The involvement of these two organisation has been crucial to the success of the project. The BDLT originated the project and provided the capital to commission the turbine as well as on going lending. We are particularly pleased at the involvement of the Community Land & Finance CIC, which was recently awarded the Social Enterprise Mark. Following a thorough due diligence process the fund has offered to underwrite the project for up to five years as we attract more share investors.
The formal share Closing Date is 3rd July . This is the day shares will be dated and interest starts accruing, with all members names being recorded on the Ecodynamic Share Register. Share certificates have been designed and will be sent out by 20th July. The Enterprise Investment Scheme certificates will be sent as soon as we have confirmation of registration from HMRC and the appropriate paperwork is complete.
The turbine is situated on private land at Croft West near Redruth and is not freely accessible. However, if you wish to visit please contact us and we will endeavour to make arrangements.
Once again, many thanks for your involvement in this exciting community renewable energy project, and we look forward to seeing you all at the annual general meeting next year.
Please phone us on01453 757124, Monday- Tuesdays 9am -1pm (or 07765 006829) if you have questions or email us on email@example.com
Robin Evans, James Mansfield, Farimah Englefield and Martin Large
This blog of June 1st is to update members and inquirers about progress with the turbine construction and the Share Offer.
1. The wind turbine commissioning by Capture Energy is now expected on Friday 7th June in a weather window. The winds have been too high so far, so lets keep our fingers crossed for the 7th. Western Power have installed lines, grid connections, and their engineer will check again on commissioning day. Remote monitoring will be set up for the live data feed for James Mansfield to monitor.
2. Share Offer update: with £5000 to come from one person, and £20,000 from another, (and several positive sounding inquiries) shares now amount to £163,700 and rising. We have also been offered loans.
3. The Share Offer deadline was 24May, but now we have decided to shift it for the last time to 15th June 1013, which is the new deadline.
4. The formal Closing Date is 3rd July. This is the day shares will be dated and from which interest stars accruing.
5. We will send out a letter to all members by 20th July, with your Share certificates, which are now being specially designed.
Any inquiries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone Farimah Englefield on 01453 757040 Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9am to 1pm..outside these times, leave a message and a number and when to contact you….
Many thanks, Martin Large
‘Crowdfunding offers alternative to traditional investments’ , writes Rupert Jones as a lead story inThe Guardian Money on Saturday 4th May
‘Crowdfunding websites offer anyone the chance to be an armchair ‘Dragon’ – from backing a start-up business to supporting a musical..Perhaps you’re looking for something that will give you a better return than a savings account. Maybe you fancy emulating the likes of Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne by becoming “an armchair Dragon” and investing in a fledgling business that you think has the potential to grow. Or perhaps you would like to do something good for your community, such as chipping in a few pounds towards solar panels for your children’s primary school, or to support a vital local amenity……..’
There are always lots of community ventures looking for backers. Over the past couple of years Guardian Money has featured a number of these “community co-operatives”, which typically aim to bring vital amenities back to life, secure the future of valued local businesses or generate renewable energy.
We’ve written about pubs, shops, a housing co-op, a music venue and many others. Often there is an opportunity for people to invest in them by buying shares. Some offer a return in the form of interest while, with others, the rewards are described as social rather than financial. They may not necessarily be listed on a snazzy crowdfunding website but they certainly fit into the model.
Schemes currently seeking finance include Ecodynamic, a community-owned enterprise where profits will be reinvested in renewable energy, biodynamic food and farming as well as providing a “fair rate” of financial return – projected at 3% per annum in years one to three and rising to 5% by year four – for investor members.
The share offer, to finance a wind turbine in Redruth, Cornwall, has been extended until 24 May.’
Several people who have just heard about Ecodynamic have asked us to extend the Share Offer deadline, so we have decided to extend the Offer until 24th May 2013, when it will be closed.
The Share Offer is going successfully, with over £150,000 shares invested and we hope £50,000 to £70,000 more promised. Word is getting around…from the 27th April Launch at the Sheep Barn Tablehurst Community Farm. Ecodynamic Directors will be writing to all members who have invested so far shortly with an update.
Today Rupert Jones included Ecodynamic and our Share Offer in an article entitled, ‘Crowd pleaser’s time has come’ in The Guardian Money section on Saturday 4th May. Ecodynamic was the only community co-op featured.