Our latest news

Share Offer Results 

Our share offer with Schools’ Energy Co-op is now closed. It has been a resounding success. The national target, originally set at £510,000, to install solar on schools all over the UK, has been exceeded: £690,163 was invested. The Salisbury investment, as part of that, totals £213K (£212,925).

Well done Salisbury! Thank you to all our investors for joining us in the first ever community energy share offer here.

Progress on installing the Salisbury sites has been good. St Martin’s Primary School and Kong, High Posts, have both been installed and commissioned (switched on). Bishop Wordsworth School is underway. Although the Wiltshire College, Salisbury, installation had an issue due to Storm Brendan, this is now back on track. The Cathedral Cloisters project is moving forward. We may have to do Amesbury Primary School and Riverbourne in our next tranche as roofs have not passed a structural survey, though remediation is feasible.

Member Meeting This Monday 

Reminder: please come along to our next member meeting this Monday, 10th February, 7.30pm, The Chapter House pub. Come and help push forward local decarbonisation projects in Salisbury.

Change at SCE 

After three years at the helm Alison Craig is standing down as Development Manager of SCE. This is to give others the opportunity to take on the role. To date this has been a paid job but due to reduced government support, and in the current political climate, the role can be voluntary only. Alison remains with SCE as a member and investor.

Board Vacancy 

We have one or more vacancies on our Board including Honorary Secretary. These are voluntary roles. SCE Board meetings are open to Observers and we welcome all expressions of interest in joining our Board. See more information on the role profile, and the process of joining our Board, here Contact our Chair, James Owen, if you are interested: ecowarriorinasuit@icloud.com

Summary of our recent AGM

We held our AGM on Monday evening, 9 September 2019, in the Guildhall. It was full house with 80 people present.

 Chaired by James Owen FRSA (SCE director and now Chair), the evening started with AGM business then moved on to speakers giving talks and presentations.

Draft Minutes AGM 9 Sept 2019, Guildhall.pdf

The following directors were elected:

  • Sonya Bedford MBE, re-elected
  • Alison Craig, retired (as required by SCE ‘Rules’, constitution) and re-elected
  • Caroline Lanyon, re-elected
  • James Owen, re-elected
  • Thomas Burnett, founder member and renewables consultant, was co-opted onto the Board before the AGM.

 No further nominations were received.

 SCE’s financial accounts and a fundraising report were circulated to attendees in advance of the meeting and were also available for scrutiny at the meeting.

SCE Account year ended 31 Mar 2019.pdf

Speakers, from left to right: Mike Smyth from Schools Energy Co-op, Kat Ewing from South Wilts Grammar School, Paddy Bradley from the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Cllr Sven Hocking from the City Council and Jake Rigg from Dragon River Technology.

Revised Fundraising Report to AGM 2019.pdf
SAFEGUARDING POLICY - signed off Sept 2019.pdf

 Directors proposed that SCE join the Salisbury Civic Society as a corporate member;  this was approved with no objections.

 Directors signed off SCE’s new safeguarding policy.

Tom Burnett provided an update on the progress of our solar PV sites (now in partnership with the Schools Energy Co-operative):

-         Amesbury Primary School

-         Bishop Wordsworth School

-         Cathedral Cloisters

-         Kong/Highposts

-         Riverbourne Community Farm

-         St Martins Junior School

-         Wiltshire College (Salisbury)

The total capacity of these sites is approximately 284kW.

SCE Solar Site Update Sept 2019.pdf
SCE Community Engagement Sept 2019.pdf

Caroline Lanyon, gave a community engagement report (see the minutes for detail).

James Owen, led a discussion of possible new activities for SCE in the years ahead (see the minutes for detail).

 The meeting was then addressed by the following speakers (see the minutes for detail):

  • Katharine Ewing, pupil at South Wilts Grammar School and climate activist.
  • Mike Smyth, Schools Energy Co-operative (SEO).
  • Cllr Sven Hocking, Chair, City Council Environmental Working Group.
  • Paddy Bradley, Director of Swindon & Wiltshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership.
  • Jake Rigg, Dragon River Technology.
  • Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader of Wiltshire Council.
  • Salisbury School Strike campaigner Kat Ewing, 17, from South Wilts Grammar School, speaking at our AGM.

    SCE and SEO partnership Sept 2019.pdf
    SCC Env Action Plan Sept 2019.pdf

     Sonya Bedford MBE, Director of SCE, could not attend due to illness (download Sonya’s presentation below).

    Sonya Bedford Salisbury AGM Presentation.pdf

    The AGM closed at 10.30pm.

     We’d like to thank the City Council for their support through free use of the Guildhall, and Radiquip Media Services for the provision of AV equipment and support.

    Letter from SCE published in Salisbury Journal, 1 August 2019

    Salisbury Community Energy has recently sponsored and delivered an educational module on renewable energy at the UTC in partnership with senior staff.

    It culminated in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style session looking at the students’ designs for wind turbines and solar packs, all of which showed huge promise. We are in a time of climate emergency. It is critically important we train up and inspire young people in low carbon and renewable energy technology.

    The UTC ethos is to put young people in direct contact with local employers. There are dozens of companies in this area manufacturing and delivering renewable energy, for example the 26 firms comprising the Solent Wind Cluster, and DEK Solar in Weymouth, the largest supplier of its kind in the world. They all need young talent.

    The UTC’s closure is a blow to these efforts, but was perhaps not surprising when it is so poorly equipped. It has no proper administration system. It has no HR department. Most shockingly of all, it has no library.

    SCE is offering a renewable energy educational module for development in schools and colleges in this area for Year 10s and above. If you are a student, parent, teacher or governor, and are interested, please let us know, and we will contact your headteacher.

    We’re looking to team up with the Schools’ Energy Co-operative

    June 2019

    The latest exciting news is that we’re working through the details of a proposed partnership with the Schools’ Energy Co-operative to take forward our portfolio of solar PV sites in Salisbury.

    The Schools’ Energy Co-operative were the 2018 winners of the Community Renewable Energy Project Award, which looks for the most outstanding renewable electricity generation project undertaken by a community group. And in the Co-operative of the Year Awards 2019, they won the Inspiring Co-op of the Year category – for co-ops with a turnover between £1m and £30 million. The Schools’ Energy Co-operative was launched in 2014 to provide community-sourced funding for and community engagement in solar panel systems on schools throughout England. It now has arrays on over 48 schools across the country.

    If everything goes to plan, the Schools’ Energy Co-operative will take on the installation, the logistics and the ongoing maintenance of our sites, while we will continue to find new sites for renewable energy installation, engaging the community in tackling climate change.
    Thanks to our consultant and founding member, Tom Burnett, we already have agreements in place, subject to all permissions and consents, with 8 sites in the city, including the Cathedral Cloisters. All sites have been ‘pre-registered’ with Ofgem so they’re eligible to receive the government Feed-in Tariff.

    We aim to launch a joint community share offer with the Schools’ Energy Co-operative this summer. We’ll be in touch with all our existing members and contacts about this. If you’re new to Salisbury Community Energy please register your interest by joining here.

    Salisbury City Council declares a climate emergency

    After passionate debate at a full council meeting on 17 June 2019, Salisbury City Council has joined Wiltshire Council and over fifty other local authorities in declaring a climate emergency. Extinction Rebellion, newly formed in Salisbury, were key to this happening.

    The full Motion reads:      Salisbury City Council resolves to:

    1. Acknowledge that Wiltshire Council has declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ and that Salisbury City Council declare this too.
    2. Work with partners to make the City of Salisbury as carbon neutral as possible by 2030.
    3. Work with partners to achieve “clean air” in Salisbury by 2022, in particular by taking action to reduce vehicle emissions, supporting public transport, cycling and walking; replacing or converting all council-owned or operated vehicles to electric powered vehicles as soon as is practically possible; encouraging the rapid phasing out of diesel-powered buses in the City by bus operators and their replacement by cleaner or non-polluting alternatives; increasing wherever possible the extent of pedestrianised areas within the City centre; undertaking a comprehensive programme of improvement of the insulation of all council-owned property, and ensuring that such property shall be fitted with solar panels wherever possible; and doing everything within its power to ensure that such standards should also apply to any new buildings which are permitted within the City.
    4. Fully support the work directed at tackling the Climate Emergency that will be carried out by Wiltshire Council where appropriate for the residents of Salisbury
    5. Note that SCC’s Environmental Working Group will consider the development, promotion and delivery solutions specific to the City in carbon reduction and ecological protection
    6. Call on Wiltshire Council to provide resources to deliver those solutions

    We’ve applied to Salisbury City Council for a grant that will enable us to deliver our work.

    Micro-hydropower at the Maltings

    We’re forming a new working group to take forward micro-hydropower at the Maltings. This is in response to the adoption by Wiltshire Council of the Maltings and Central Car Park masterplan at a packed meeting in Salisbury on 19 June 2019.

    The masterplan, revised June 2019, now includes the statement that the Council will support proposals for sustainable energy generation schemes on the site, subject to planning permission and agreement between all necessary parties.

    New information has also emerged about a flooding incident which occurred at the Bishops Mill/St Thomas’s Square site in 2014. The prospect of a catastrophic city centre flooding must be considered in every activity. The masterplan has a strong emphasis on flood mitigation as a broad development principle. For this reason, both public and private sector funding is justified.

    The ‘Energy Efficiency and Sustainability’ section has been expanded and improved in the revised plan. It reads as follows, in full (page 64-65):

    Wiltshire Council has a goal for the County to be carbon neutral by 2030 and planning applications will be supported by a statement clearly outlining the measures proposed to achieve sustainable development. Where possible and viable, development should be carbon neutral.

    New buildings will be designed to maximise energy efficiency and where design imperatives permit, buildings should be orientated to benefit from solar energy and passive solar gain.

    Development of the site will incorporate onsite renewable energy generation that is appropriate to the setting.

    The inclusion of green roofs will be supported to maximise energy efficiency, slow down water runoff, and increase wildlife habitat area.

    The Council will support flexible mechanisms, such as allowable solutions for zero carbon development, in line with the definition published by central government as set out in Core Policy 41.

    Sustainable energy strategies

    The following minimum information should be provided within a Sustainable Energy Strategy for all major developments, as required by Core Policy 41:

    Technical proposal – including the proportion of the target to be met following the energy hierarchy (energy efficiency, followed by on-site and then off-site measures). Details for each part of the proposal and details of any infrastructure needed, such as district heating, along with details for any phased delivery should also be included. The exploration of opportunities to support the development of low-carbon infrastructure to serve existing developments should be included.

    Technical feasibility – including space availability, integration with building energy systems, impact on townscape, running hours of plant.

    Financial viability – including capital costs and whole life cost, taking into account market mechanisms such as feed-in tariffs.

    Deliverability – including opportunities and requirements for delivery of infrastructure through the Energy Service Companies (ESCos).

    Impact on overall viability – an assessment method, such as the Home and Communities Economic Viability model, should be used that will examine factors including land value, sale value, construction costs and other developer contributions.

    Salisbury Community Energy wants schools to sign up for solar power

    Published in the Salisbury Journal online, Thursday 7 February 2019

    A COMMUNITY group is encouraging schools to sign up for solar power, in its bid to both transform the city and encourage students to learn about renewable energy.

    As the government will be withdrawing the renewable energy Feed-in Tariff from March (income received from selling solar power generated energy into the national grid), Salisbury Community Energy (SCE) is appealing for as many large sites as possible to sign up for solar photovoltaics (PV) installation before this deadline, to not only help in making Salisbury eco-friendly but to pay back local investors and form a community benefit fund.

    If a site agrees to solar PV installation, paid for by SCE’s fundraising effort, the surplus profit will be channelled back into a community benefit fund for other projects in and around Salisbury, including more solar panels, flood mitigation and the Bishops water wheel restoration project.

    Several schools have already shown interest in installing solar power energy, either through SCE or independently, including Bishop Wordsworth's School, South Wiltshire University technical college (UTC), Wiltshire College, St Martins and Avon Valley College.
    SCE director Caroline Lanyon said the organisation, formed in 2017, is for community benefit and not profit and described SCE’s solar power model as "investment by the community, into the community”, adding: “It's actually people putting money into their local projects and getting a return, it's fabulous.”

    Founder of SCE, Alison Craig, added: "Our ultimate ambition is for Salisbury as a whole to be run on renewable energy. What we'd like to see is a gradual shift towards seeing renewable energy as normal.

    "Community Energy works at a grass roots level because we know the buildings, we know the areas, and so it's a very interesting network to help set up.”

    As well as the fire station in Ashley Road and River Bourne Community Farm, Salisbury Cathedral is leading the way as one site that is seriously considering installing solar PV, subject to permissions and consents.

    The decision is supported by the Bishop of Salisbury and Church of England's lead bishop on the environment, Nicholas Holtam.

    The Bishop said climate change is a “very grave concern”, adding: “The scientific consensus is clear that it is urgent we move our economy, and ways of life, to a more sustainable footing, in order to reduce the worst impacts of climate change.

    "I support every initiative that helps to drive change, including the one by Salisbury Community Energy to install solar PV on Salisbury schools and colleges.”

    By Gemma Gibson, Salisbury Journal

    Letter from SCE published in Salisbury Journal

    24 January 2019

    It is both poignant and shameful that an estimated four hundred of our most vulnerable citizens died of the cold the winter before last (400 Excess Winter Deaths in Wiltshire 2016/2017, Office for National Statistics, Journal, 17th January 2019, page 23). These people – elderly or disabled or ill – were having to live in freezing cold, damp homes. We dread reading the final 2017/2018 figure, which will almost certainly be higher.

    It is shameful because there is every reason, and resource available, for the government to eliminate cold homes and fuel poverty. New homes, if built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, better still 5, are far more energy efficient than much of Wiltshire’s old rural housing stock.

    It is welcome news that Wiltshire Council is borrowing £50 million from the Public Works Loan Board to buy or build 250 new homes for low-paid key workers and care leavers.

    Can Cllr Clewer reassure us that the occupants of these new homes will not become the vulnerable citizens of the future? Will the Council make the wise investment now of enhanced insulation, glazing, draft-proofing, high efficiency heating and rooftop solar pv? The extra cost is £2-3K for mid or end terrace, or £5-6K for detached homes.

    Inaction on climate change will incur the Council higher costs, including more lives lost to extreme weather events.

    Salisbury Community Energy is calling for the elimination of cold homes and the uptake of renewable energy including solar pv. Our purpose is to future-proof Salisbury and the south Wiltshire area.

    Working to increase our portfolio of viable solar PV sites

     21 November 2018

    Solar PV and a community energy investment portfolio
    We’re looking to increase the size of our solar PV portfolio, as we didn’t meet the minimum capacity threshold last year. Our consultant Thomas Burnett of Wessex Energy Solutions and Alison Craig, are working with some urgency to pull together a portfolio of viable solar PV sites before March 2019, when the Government has said it will cut the Feed-in Tariff.
    Most of the sites are church schools and colleges, thanks to the support of the local Diocesan Education Centre. We’ve got a shortlist of 15 sites, all in the central Salisbury area. We’re also looking again at seven large sites that we first investigated last year. Four of these are giving positive indications so far.

    Our meeting with John Glen MP
    A group of SCE members met with John Glen MP on 19 October, during the Government’s ‘Green GB Week’, to lobby for the retention of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT). The Government is proposing to cut the FIT – for both solar PV and hydropower – next March.
    We asked him to consider a ‘Community Feed-in Tariff’, which would cost the Government less than the existing FIT, would spread the benefits, and would halt the rapid decline in community energy installations which we’ve seen since the proposed policy change.

    He confirmed that he'd already received a number of letters from SCE members on this issue.
    Disappointingly, there was no change of policy announced in the October budget that followed our meeting. We’re asking our supporters to continue to press John Glen on this issue as there’s still time for the Government to adopt a Community FIT.
    Re-energise Salisbury – we’ve launched a new membership scheme
    Re-energise Salisbury, our launch event on 1 September was a great success. It included an all-day exhibition of our work to date, an evening reception and a chance to meet each other, followed by a series of inspirational talks at the Guildhall, kindly chaired by Deputy Mayor, Cllr John Walsh.
    We owe major thanks to Allum & Sidaway, who donated their venue for the event, and to the Mayor, Cllr Mike Osment, who sponsored it in exchange for donations to The Mayor’s Charity for 2018-19 (Children’s Chance and the Rose Gale Trust).
    What did Re-energise Salisbury achieve?
    It brought supporters of community energy together. SCE was founded last year as a community benefit society (a form of Co-op) but our main activities so far have involved a handful of co-directors and consultants doing technical feasibility studies. We’d built up a group of supporters, but mostly online. So we felt it was time to meet up! We hope those of you who could make it enjoyed the event and came away feeling as enthused as we are.
    Membership in SCE is now available for just £1.

    You need to be over 16 years old to become a member.

    Donate to SCE
    Salisbury Community Energy is a Social Enterprise. We are reliant on grants and donations in the run-up to launching community shares.

    Low carbon redevelopment of the Maltings
    SCE has been in the news recently with its proposal for a renewable energy scheme, including the Bishops Mill hydropower project, to form part of the Maltings redevelopment plans.
    We've offered to take an active role in the scheme and have requested that the developers publish the sustainable energy strategy they are obliged to submit with their planning application.
    This is an opportunity for Salisbury to have a state-of-the-art development based on clean, low-carbon technology, not just one which is ‘fully compliant with council policy on sustainability matters’.
    Salisbury Brand Positioning – have your say
    As part of the wider Salisbury Recovery Plan, 'place branding' specialists Heavenly are working to develop the Salisbury brand positioning. The project involves asking people to share their views by completing a short online survey.
    The survey doesn’t include much scope to express an opinion about how Salisbury should be in the future, but we’re urging our supporters to complete it, and to give support to the idea of renewable energy and the uptake of clean technology in the city, solar PV, hydropower, and electric vehicles.
    Here’s where you can complete the Salisbury Brand Survey. It closes at the end of November 2018.
    It’s good to hear that that results from this year’s Salisbury – Our City 2020 Vision: the Chamber of Commerce Salisbury Schools Competition, are being fed into this branding exercise. According to RSA member, Peter Thompson, students’ aspirations for the city include many good ideas for Salisbury’s environment including new cycle path networks and clean, green initiatives.
    A new link with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA)
    The Salisbury branch of the RSA held a meeting on 1 November where Alison Craig and Caroline Lanyon from SCE presented our ideas for restoring hydropower at Bishops Mill, and making Salisbury a green, low carbon city. We drew parallels between our vision of transforming Salisbury with renewable energy and the radical changes in 1898 when electricity generated from the Bishops Mill hydro turbine first made domestic and street lighting widely available.
    Focusing on the future with Wiltshire Council
    Wiltshire Council is hosting a series of public events to discuss the services that it provides and its plans for future years. They may be a good opportunity to urge the Council to give renewable energy and sustainable development a higher priority.
    The Salisbury ‘Focusing on the Future’ meeting is taking place on Thursday 29 November at 5.30pm in the Guildhall. It’s open to all and free of charge. Please email events@wiltshirecouncil.gov.uk if you’d like to attend.

    Please let us have your views on the future of the Bishops Mill project 

    New-generation "Zuppinger Wheel" - Photo: HydroWatt GmbH hydrowatt.de/de/produkte/wasserrad-ms

    At our Re-energise Salisbury event on 1 September we launched a pledge campaign inviting donations towards a £15K enabling fund for the Bishops Mill hydropower restoration project. This would cover the costs of taking the project forward towards permitting/consenting by the Environment Agency and the planning authorities. We raised close to £1k at the event. You can make further pledges here:

    We’ve always known that a hydropower project would present more challenges than solar PV; in :particular it’s technically more demanding and more costly. This is what would make a high-quality scheme – which could be up and running for 100 years - such a valuable legacy for the city.
    Recent feasibility work carried out by consultant Keith Wheaton-Green and national expert Phil Maher, indicates that this project is unlikely to be suitable as a community share offer as it would cost more to install than investors would receive as a financial return.
    We’d therefore like to know if you support the project as a community fundraising scheme. We could raise the money through donations and grants. We could possibly offer zero interest shares. We could even present the Bishops Mill project to international donors, as a symbol of our recovering city and the low carbon future to which we aspire.

    It’s possible that government policy will change in the future, becoming more favorable to micro-hydropower schemes. If that happens, we might be able to offer our zero interest shareholders a return on their investment. But it’s likely to be on a long-term basis, for example, year 10 of the operating hydropower scheme.

    Take our survey (it'll be open until Christmas)

    Press Release issued 20 August 2018


    Cathedral leads the way with solar plan for the Cloisters 

    Salisbury Community Energy (SCE) is holding a day of events to launch its new membership scheme on Saturday 1st September. Entry is free of charge and open to all: displays and exhibition at jewellers Allum & Sidaway, 10am to 5pm, a 6pm reception there, and talks in the Guildhall from 7.30pm. Booking for the evening events is essential. 

    SCE exists to drive the uptake of renewable electricity locally, so the economy is based on clean energy and not the fossil fuels which are causing climate change. 

    Already three sites in the city have agreed to solar PV installation: the Cathedral (on the roof of the Cloisters), the Fire Station, Ashley Road, and River Bourne Community Farm. SCE is currently working on further potential solar PV sites on Diocesan schools and colleges. 

    Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam, the Church of England's lead bishop on the environment, has recently described climate change as ‘an enormous injustice’ which ‘hurts the poor first and worst’. 

    He says, ‘We at Salisbury Cathedral are delighted to be boosting renewable energy generation locally, especially when done in a way which has no impact visually. We hope other organisations locally will follow suit, and that local investors will support - and benefit from - Salisbury's new community energy scheme. 

    ‘Switching to responsible sources of electricity may seem like a small thing on its own, but when joined together it makes a real difference.’ 

    SCE’s flagship hydropower proposal is at Bishops Mill, opposite the clock-tower, and expert speakers in the evening of 1st September will reveal details of the proposal. 

    For more on SCE visit www.salisburycommunityenergy.co.uk 


    SCE will be launching community share offers from next year. Local people can choose to invest in their portfolio of sites, which raises enough money for the installations. Site owners benefit from discounted green electricity. The rest is sold to the national grid. Investors are paid a fair return. A community benefit fund is formed – when feasible – for projects benefitting vulnerable groups in the city. 

    Speakers at the Guildhall, 7.30pm:

    Benji Goehl, Co-founder and Director, Salisbury Community Energy and Founder and Director, Co-cars Salisbury (confirmed)
    Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, MP for Southampton, Test (invited)
    Canon Dr Robert Titley, Cathedral Treasurer (confirmed)
    Sonya Bedford MBE, Head of Renewable Energy, Stephens Scown LLP, and Director, Salisbury Community Energy (confirmed)
    Keith Wheaton-Green, hydropower consultant (confirmed)
    Jake Rigg, Dragon River Technologies - low-head hydro-turbine for southern rivers (confirmed)

    Question and Answer session


    UPDATE July 2018

    ⌁ Re-energise Salisbury  launch on 1st September 2018

    On Saturday 1st September you’re invited to our big launch event:

    ⌁ Re-energise Salisbury 

    Come and find out how you can become a member of Salisbury Community Energy (SCE) and invest in local renewable energy. Our flagship hydro proposal – as announced in our April update – is to restore hydropower at the Bishops Mill pub, subject to all necessary consents and permissions.

    The ⌁ Re-energise Salisbury  event will showcase the plans and vision for this and other SCE projects, and will launch the fundraising for the hydropower development work, aiming for installation next year.

    The ⌁ Re-energise Salisbury  launch will be spread through the day and evening.

    Between 10 am and 5 pm there will be displays and information on all our shortlisted sites. These will be at the Guildhall and at jewellers Allum & Sidaway (on Minster Street, at the corner of the Market Square nearest the library). This beautiful venue has kindly been donated to SCE for our launch by a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

    From 6 pm to 7.15 pm we are holding a drinks reception for all SCE supporters at jewellers Allum & Sidaway.

    From 7.30 pm speakers will share with us their passion, expertise and experience of renewable energy. This event is in the Guildhall (about a one minute walk away). Speakers will be confirmed shortly and include renewable energy experts Sonya Bedford MBE and Keith Wheaton-Green.

    Booking the evening activities (drinks and talks) is essential as spaces are limited. Please book your ticket on Eventbrite.

    SCE portfolio development news

    Over the past year, funded by the Rural Community Energy Fund government grant, we have been carrying out feasibility studies of potential solar PV and hydropower sites locally. Both reports are now completed. From an initial list of over 300 sites we arrived at a shortlist of fifteen solar possibles and six hydro possibles. But because hydro is such a long-term commitment, and the city’s
    rivers are of exceptional importance ecologically, we have not been able to secure decisions in the original time-frame we allowed for launching our first share-offer this summer.

    We have therefore decided to increase the number of solar pv sites we’re developing. Thanks to the support of the Diocesan Education Centre, who own hundreds of schools, academies and colleges locally, there is no shortage of potential new sites.

    New-generation "Zuppinger Wheel" - Photo: HydroWatt GmbH

    The great news is we have secured our third Rural Community Energy Fund grant enabling us to do the work, which we aim to complete by this November.

    In the meantime we are pushing on with our Bishops Mill proposal because it is universally popular. At our launch on 1st September, SCE members will - assuming the site owners and all other stakeholders have given permission - have the opportunity to support the project financially. A new-generation Zuppinger water wheel on that site – with a viewing panel, platform and its own eco-lighting display – would give Salisbury a charismatic new tourism attraction. It would signal to the world that Salisbury has a bright future ahead. Whatever assaults we have suffered recently, we’re on our feet again, stepping up and leading the way towards a clean, green, low carbon world.

    Come and join us on 1st September for the launch of ⌁ Re-energise Salisbury - book your tickets here.

    Other News

    Sonya Bedford MBE

    SCE held our first Annual General Meeting on 2 July 2018. We welcome Richard Bolton onto our Board of Directors. We thank Dave Dunford and Kevin Flynn for their extremely valuable contributions over the past year. Both will remain involved in our work for which we are very grateful.

    We are delighted that our Board member Sonya Bedford has been given the MBE for services to community energy. Sonya is head of renewable energy at Stephens Scown solicitors in Exeter and sits on the board of a number of community energy groups. We are lucky to have her expertise, support and unfailingly can-do attitude.

    UPDATE June 2018

    SCE has just been awarded a £10K Awards for All grant to cover the cost of launching our community membership scheme, publications and events.

    UPDATE April 2018

    Salisbury Recovery Plan

    Our city has been at the epicentre of world geopolitics with the Skripal poisoning incident on 4th March. The local economy received a tremendous blow and every effort must now be towards ensuring a successful, long-term recovery for the city, with people’s jobs and livelihoods at stake.  

    SCE is attending all the Salisbury Recovery Plan meetings which Wiltshire Council is organising. We very much want to see the city recover its global reputation as the beautiful, vibrant city of culture we all love.

    We also want to see a transition to a low carbon economy – so strongly supported by you - integrated in the plans ahead.

    For example, a top priority is to ensure the redevelopment of The Maltings goes ahead. The area needs a complete transformation, so it is not forever associated with a heinous assassination attempt.

    One of our flagship hydropower proposals (note: proposal only at this stage) is the Bishops Mill itself, at the centre of the ‘incident’. No hydropower project can go forward without the consent of the owner and stakeholders (in this case, neighbouring businesses who would be given the opportunity to benefit from discounted electricity), the Environment Agency (who assess flood-risk and all other impacts), Natural England, and the planning authorities.

    Wiltshire Council own the relevant area and SCE has been in discussions with them about our proposal – the restoration of a new-generation water wheel. The site has a fascinating history. Turbines used to operate there, powering city street-lights and equipment at the Infirmary across the road for decades. A new-generation water wheel of the type envisaged would not increase the noise of water.

    We believe a water-wheel at Bishops Mill would contribute to three important priorities. It would:

    • change Bishops Mill and become a new tourism attraction for Salisbury, signalling that the city is clean, green and forward-looking;

    • help meet the strategic objective of Wiltshire Council of becoming a low carbon authority;

    • be a community-owned asset, a win-win-win for Salisbury, generating discount electricity for local businesses, a fair return on investment for SCE investors, and contributing to a community benefit fund.

    However to build the scheme to the highest possible standard within this Grade II listed building, using the most attractive water-wheel and best engineering, costs a higher amount than our portfolio, as a small community energy group, can cover. We would need the support of Wiltshire Council and grant-funding to achieve it.

    We have visited the site many times over the past year, and taken City Council councillors, Wiltshire Council officers, and our MP John Glen, to see it. We have been hugely encouraged by the warm support they have all offered.

    We do reiterate that no hydropower project can go forward without the consent of the owner, neighbours and stakeholders, the planning authorities, the Environment Agency (who are responsible for flood-risk and all other impacts), and Natural England. The latter two bodies came to assess the site on 23rd March and we anticipate their response this May.

    We need to find out if the proposal has community support, hence we have created a quick poll.

    Wessex Community Energy Network launched

    Salisbury hosted the inaugural event of this network on Tuesday 17th April, at the Quaker Meeting House.  Initially proposed by Pete West of Dorset Community Energy, Wessex Community Energy Network (WCEN) has been initiated by Pete, Lesley Bennett, Chair of Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy and SCE.

    The purpose of the new network is to share skills, resources and experience among local community energy groups.  We all believe passionately in the democratisation and decentralisation of our energy supply and an urgent need to install renewable energy, moving away from fossil fuel use. Directors and Founders attended this first event. At a later date, members and supporters could potentially network too.

    We were delighted to welcome around twenty participants from 13 different local community energy groups including our from our neighbouring group, Nadder Community Energy, Dorset Community Energy, Bath & West Community Energy (BWE), Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust and Energise Stur Valley and South Somerset Community Energy. Quarterly meetings are planned and we hope that by joining together we can to some extent become a counter-weight to prevailing government policy which is not favouring renewable energy as much as we believe is urgently needed.

    The event was kindly sponsored by Wessex Water.


    UPDATE March 2018

    Solar and hydro sites

    We’ve finalised our ‘tranche 1’ shortlist of sites, comprising solar pv and potential hydropower sites in and around Salisbury. Site owners have been engaged and the first (non binding) legal documents issued. Once these ‘heads of terms’ have been signed, we can disclose selected sites.

    We are working as quickly as possible on costings and more detailed feasibility work. Planning and permitting processes are underway. The hydropower sites are rigorously scrutinised by the Environment Agency and Natural England who are scheduled to visit them at the end of this month.

    Once a final shortlist of viable sites is agreed, we’ll be issuing the first SCE community share offer this spring. Minimum investment will be £100, with no maximum, and site owners can also be investors. An ecclesiastical partner has already indicated interest in doing so and this is being explored.

    Community Engagement

    Our ‘Tell us what you think’ survey is now closed and results have been very encouraging. A detailed analysis plus comments are available here. Perhaps most excitingly, over sixty per cent of respondents agreed with our vision of Salisbury becoming a carbon neutral city, with roof-top solar and hydropower fully deployed in this ‘city of five rivers’.

    Over eighty per cent of respondents are most interested – in respect of SCE - in the potential to reduce carbon emissions and move away from the use of fossil fuels. Around sixty per cent are interested in the return on investment in renewable energy. Seventy per cent are interested in new community activities and networks via SCE.

    All respondents want to see more solar pv and renewable (non fossil fuel) heat here.  Over ninety per cent came out in favour of hydropower.

    There are some reservations about ‘ground-mount’ solar, and concerns about hydropower, and these will be carefully addressed in everything we do. For example, the survey steered us away from a ground-mount option at one of our sites.  Interestingly, there is a clear preference for our community benefit fund (once created) to be used for further installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures: 63 per cent opting for both those as top choice. This will be discussed at a later stage with further opportunities for the community to guide how we use this fund.


    SCE’s initiative with the South Wiltshire University Technical College (UTC) (Wilton Road, Salisbury) has begun: initially a short pilot module on renewable energy available to Year 10 students (14-15 year olds).

    A group of GCSE geography students went on a hydro field trip on 26th February. Supervised by UTC staff, two SCE Board members and with the kind support of Serve On’s director of operations, Craig Elsdon to ensure safety, they visited the weir at Standlynch Mill on the Longford Estate, south of the city, to learn about clean, green renewable electricity generation, using the force of water. The students will take what they have learnt back to the classroom and design and build their own hydro gadget to power a mobile phone.

    Salisbury UTC students with David Dunford of SCE (on right) and Craig Elsdon, Operations Manager of Serve On (second right) at Standlynch Mill

    “This is a very exciting project for our Year 10 students,’ said geography teacher, Ewan Scott. “It links what they are learning in the classroom with real practical situations. They also got some fresh perspectives around the design process.”

    The students spent the morning at Standlynch Mill studying the possibility of a hydro-electric scheme alongside various experts including the Estate’s River Keeper Peter Orchard.

David Dunford, Chair of SCE, who led the training day, says it’s vital to invest in local young people and give them the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in renewable energy technology. “We urgently need this expertise to be able to move away from fossil fuel use and towards a future of clean, green renewable energy.”

    UTC student, James Sharpe said: “The visit really brings to life the technical problem of placing a turbine into a river. I'm surprised a the power of the river and that will have to affect my design."

    It’s hoped this introduction to hydro power will inspire the students to study sustainable energy at university. “We are delighted to support the UTC with their project. The estate is fortunate to own a myriad of waterways in the Avon Valley therefore exploration into this alternative green energy initiative with SCE is extremely worthwhile and we welcome such interest in sustainable, carbon neutral methods of energy creation,” said Alasdair Jones-Perrott, Estate Manager, Longford Estate.