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Greener Great Coxwell Community Energy

Greener Great Coxwell: inclusive, community solutions for de-carbonisation and ecological regeneration

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Greener Great Coxwell Community Energy

As part of their commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 the UK government intend to prohibit the installation of gas and oil boilers in all new domestic properties from 2025. Eventually all existing gas and oil boilers will have to be phased out and the Committee on Climate Change (the government’s independent advisor) has said that we will need to install new boilers that use clean hydrogen or electric powered heat pumps. There is currently no government plan for either alternative.

The Greener Great Coxwell group have been investigating a community owned, sustainable and secure energy project that would provide heating and hot water to the whole village. The system would replace existing boilers, help with fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and provide a revenue stream bringing further benefits to the village.

With your support, we believe the objectives of such a scheme could be to –

• Provide the same temperature of hot water and central heating as your existing oil or gas boiler at less cost.

• Provide a sustainable and reliable supply of renewable heat energy for decades to come. 

• Help to cut the carbon footprint of the village contributing towards the UK’s 2050 Carbon Neutral goals.

Click Here to Express and interest in the Energy Scheme or scroll down for further details .

How would the scheme work?

Our proposal is to use a ground source heating system powered by a solar installation. Heat distribution would be through an insulated pipe network connected to each participating home via a small heat interface unit. Similar schemes are common on the continent and several are under construction or in planning locally, for example at North Aston and Upper Heyford in north Oxfordshire and at Swaffham in Cambridgeshire (https://heatingswaffhamprior.co.uk ).  Households not wishing to participate would not be affected in any way.

To  help  with  our  understanding  and  potential  for  such  a  scheme,  we became members of the Low Carbon Hub (https://www.lowcarbonhub.org/), the Oxfordshire organisation working to promote Community based and sustainable energy sources, and the South East Energy Hub (www.energyhub.org.uk), a collaboration of Local Enterprise Partnerships working to support local energy projects in south-east England. The latter provides grants for feasibility studies and business development via the Rural Community Energy Fund, which we would hope to take advantage of. We have also made contact with other projects including Heating Upper Heyford (https://heatupperheyford.wixsite.com/website), joined the Greater South East Energy Hub (https://www.energyhub.org.uk) and held discussions and taken expert advice from several renewable energy consultancies.

All are agreed that our scheme is potentially viable and worth your consideration and therefore, we are asking for an indication of support from as many villagers as possible to enable us to progress to a grant funded research stage.

Over the next few weeks we will be arranging meetings or Zoom calls in order to discuss further with anyone interested.  Our initial deadline to submit an application for funding of the initial feasibility study is November 5th.  

Expressing an interest is all that is required at this stage.  Your expression of interest does not imply any other obligation or commitment.  

At the moment precise details of a scheme are difficult to predict – the first and second rounds of grant funding are specifically to engage consultants to assess the projects feasibility, keep the community involved and plan the scheme in detail. However, we have some pointers from existing schemes:

  • Planning would be grant funded so there are no initial costs. The planning procedure would also investigate the most appropriate source of development funding.
  • Our aspiration is that there would be no installation costs and no service or equipment replacement costs. All costs are included in a monthly energy bill which is expected to be lower than current energy costs.
  • The scheme would guarantee heat delivery of 72 degrees in the winter and 62 degrees in the summer which is the equivalent temperature of an oil or gas boiler. This has the advantage of plugging straight into your current hot water central heating systems. Service provision is guaranteed.
  • The monthly energy bill is made up of a standing charge and metered usage just like electricity or gas.
  • All future costs (such as replacement of network components) are included within the Energy Contract.
  • The impact on the community and on the households of the change to the new scheme has been found to be minimal. The change from a boiler to the Heat Interface Unit (HIU) is completed in a couple of days and the HIU is half the size of an average oil boiler.
  • The solar installation and the boreholes for the heat pump would require a dedicated amount of land and a small building to house the pumps and potentially heat storage units (hot water tanks). We would hope to lease this land from local landowners. Following completion of construction the land would be suitable for use as pasture but the precise area required would depend on the take-up and geological factors that would be researched as part of the feasibility study.
  • The financing model would be investigated during the second, business development round of grant funding. This could be from grant money, loans or investment from community funds and may include investment opportunities for our community.

To look at a good comparative scheme, Swaffham has 163 households that are interested and over 150 are expected to sign up to an Energy Contract. If you wish to understand how the Swaffham scheme works in more detail then please look at their website – www.heatingswaffhamprior.co.uk .

If you are interested in our scheme or would like more information please click on the barn image below, or e-mail energy@greenergreatcoxwell.com.