Take a share in new green energy scheme

Residents at Forge Bank and members of Halton Lune Hydro near the proposed hydro power site.
Residents at Forge Bank and members of Halton Lune Hydro near the proposed hydro power site.

A new scheme to create community owned renewable energy on the river Lune in Halton is launching a share offer for investors.

A newly formed “Community Benefit Society”, known as Halton Lune Hydro, is making the offer with support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub to fund the first of two turbines which are capable of producing a combined 1,000MWh of renewable energy each year.

The energy generated in Halton will be sold to the eco-homes at Forge Bank, with surplus energy exported to the National Grid. Profits will also benefit charitable, educational and environmental projects in the community and surrounding areas.

Kevin Frea, a founder member of Halton Lune Hydro, explained: “The enthusiasm and support that we have seen so far the scheme has been incredible.

“We are trying to encourage the widest possible participation. The higher the level of community ownership the less money we need to borrow and therefore, more of the benefits of energy generation can remain in the community.”

Michael Fairclough, head of community and co-operative investment at The Co-operative - which assisted the community through its Co-operative Enterprise Hub, said: “There is significant potential for communities to control, generate and benefit from their own renewable energy. By working together, people can be powerful catalysts for change capable of overcoming many of the challenges facing today’s society, the environment and economy.”

Halton Lune Hydro is looking to raise around £950,000 through a combination of community investors and loan finance. To become a co-owner of Halton Lune Hydro shares cost £1 each with a minimum investment of £250 up to a maximum of £20,000. Organisers aim to pay a return of around 5 per cent to investors with shares in the scheme available until 31 March 2014. For more information and to obtain a copy of the share offer document visit www.haltonlunehydro.org