Thank you for your interest and support in this community project and your patience regarding the timescales for opening of the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund.
The society has set up this web page to ensure that the most current information is accessible to both society members and others within the local community regarding the fund, and to ensure consistency in both the information released and the timing of updates.
The 500KW Community Wind Turbine at Alvington is owned and operated by Resilient Energy Alvington Court Renewables (REACR), a Community Benefit Society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
The turbine was installed on 24th November 2015 with commissioning completed in early January 2016. The turbine is generating clean, green electricity in line with expectations and is well placed to deliver against the society’s social aims over the turbine’s operational lifetime. These include establishing the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund to help address the current needs and future challenges in the host community of Alvington, Aylburton and their environs.
The society is committed to making a positive difference locally in addition to the environmental benefits directly associated with the generation of renewable energy.
FEBRUARY 2017 UPDATE
PROGRESS TOWARDS THE OPENING OF THE COMMUNITY FUND
The Society is now in the process of establishing the community fund mechanisms, with the opening of the first round of applications to the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund expected in early summer 2017.
The fund criteria and mechanism of operation are outlined below. The Society has already received a number of enquiries regarding possible applications to the fund in relation to eligibility criteria. Whilst individual responses at this stage are not considered appropriate, it is hoped that the information provided below will provide clarity.
COMMUNITY FUND CRITERIA and PURPOSE
The purpose of the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund has been publicly stated from the outset of this community project, including at the pre-planning stage.
To help build community resilience in Alvington, Aylburton and environs by addressing current needs and future challenges.
Applicants will, however, be required to explain how the funding they seek will help to build community resilience in Alvington, Aylburton and environs and show a basic understanding of what this means. Further links regarding community resilience will be added to this resource as the project itself develops.
The Society will be keen to receive applications for projects/actions which will help to create a lasting legacy, providing social, environmental and/or local economic benefits for the community. There will be no requirement for match funding as with some community grant schemes. However, applicants may leverage additional funds by the use of a successful funding award from the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund as match funding for another funding stream.
Further details including a link to an on-line application form will be provided in the next Update along with the closing date for the first round of funding applications to be received.
ESTABLISHMENT & ROLE OF ADVISORY PANEL
The Society believes that those living within the community are best placed to understand the community strengths and weaknesses, and therefore determine its needs.
The Alvington Turbine Community Fund Advisory Panel will be established in May 2017 ahead of the opening of the first round of applications to the Community Fund. It will assist the Society by reviewing applications received in each particular funding round, against the Fund Criteria. The Advisory Panel will be Chaired by The Resilience Centre (the Society’s appointed Manager) who will oversee proceedings on behalf of the Society and provide an admin function, but will have no voting rights on funding allocations.
The appointed Advisory Panel members will be briefed on community resilience, and at each funding round they will then have the role of assessing the eligibility of applications against the criteria, and collectively deciding on the allocations of funding. The application process will be competitive and not all eligible applications to the Community Fund will be supported. Feedback will, however, be provided to all applicants and, where appropriate, unsuccessful applicants may be invited to submit an application at the next funding round, once feedback has been considered and/or further information to support an application has been provided.
Community minded individuals living in Alvington and Aylburton who would like to be considered for a voluntary role on the Advisory Panel, and who are supportive of both the community wind turbine and the aims of the society, are encouraged to email REACR@theresiliencecentre.co.uk to pre-register their interest in receiving details of the application process when it opens.
Further details including a link to an on-line application form will be provided in the next Update, along with the closing date for Advisory Panel applications to be received.
The selection of the Advisory Panel members will be decided by the board of REACR. Applications will be invited from individuals only ie there will be no nominated representatives of other organisations on the Advisory Panel. Appointed Advisory Panel members may have associations with other community organisations in Alvington/Aylburton and environs, but will be ineligible to vote on applications to the Community Fund received from any organisation with which they have such associations.
GEOGRAPHICAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
Whilst the majority of successful applications to the Community Fund are anticipated to be from applicants in the Alvington, Aylburton and immediate surrounding area, applications from further afield may be considered, at the discretion of the appointed Advisory Panel, but only where the applicant can clearly evidence that there would be significant benefits to the communities of Alvington, Aylburton and environs.
DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS
The Society intends that once the Community Fund opens, applications to the fund will be invited twice a year. The allocation of available funds will be based on 4% of turnover achieved by the Society in the preceding period. The expectations are that the average annual donation by the Society to the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund, over the turbine’s 25 year operation, will be of the order of £15,000 – £20,000. The figure will, however, be less in the first three years of operation due to higher project outgoings during this period, including in relation to curtailment of the turbine’s full potential as part of biodiversity and habitat monitoring commitments required by Forest of Dean District Council. The first round of funding will also be affected due to the delayed commencement of FiT payments by Ofgem (see December Update).
DECEMBER 2016 UPDATE
Before the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund can be launched, as with any similar community project, the society first needs to receive sufficient income to meet its initial start-up and ongoing operating costs.
REACR had anticipated being able to establish the fund after the first full year of operation. Like many other community energy projects in England, however, the society’s income has been significantly affected by prolonged and unexpected delays by OfGem in administering the Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme, for this and other community projects across the UK. We are informed that this is due to the large number of applications received by OfGem immediately prior to the Government’s amendments to the FiT scheme in 2016.
Our prior experience is that the turnaround time for processing of projects, such as REACR, was a matter of only a few weeks. In this instance the processing took 11 months, during which time the society has been unable to claim any FiT income associated with energy generated by the turbine– a considerable sum.
During the time our application was being processed, OfGem also changed the rules regarding the effective start date for FiT payments. They announced that the effective start date, for the 20 year period over which FiT payments could be claimed, would change from the date at which a project was certified as exporting to the grid (the policy in place at the time of the REACR application for full accreditation), to the date at which the FiT accreditation was finally verified. Because of this change, unfortunately the society’s initial income from the FiT will be backdated only to 24th April 2016 and not the 24th November 2015.
These changes do not affect the long term viability or income overall, since the society will still receive FiT payments for the electricity which the turbine generates for the guaranteed 20 year period. However, the delay to the FiT commencement date has affected the society’s income and cashflow in this first year of operation. Consequently, the start date for the opening of the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund is necessarily delayed.
The Society now expects to be able to establish the community fund in spring 2017, with the opening of the first round of applications to the fund likely to be scheduled for early summer 2017.
We anticipate that this webpage will be updated in February 2017 with further details of the mechanism for the fund operation, including a call for applicants who wish to be considered for a voluntary position on the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund Advisory Panel which will assist the society in allocating the funds available at each funding round.
The average annual community resilience fund available over the lifetime of the project is expected to remain at £15k – £20k/yr. The figure will, however, be less in the first three years of operation due to higher project outgoings during this period, including in relation to biodiversity and habitat monitoring commitments required by Forest of Dean District Council.
In addition to the Alvington Turbine Community Resilience Fund, the society anticipates generating a further surplus for the benefit of the community from around the sixth year of operation (exact value to be confirmed). The society intends that this separate community surplus will be allocated for broader social and environmental benefits across the GL15 postcode area. Further information will be provided ahead of the launch of this additional community surplus, the allocation of which will be decided on an annual basis by the members of the society against established criteria.