Community owned energy production

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mcaville
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Community owned energy production

Post: #203077 mcaville
Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:01 pm

Hi everyone, I'm fairly new to this site but thought i'd float an idea out there and see what people's experience or opinions on this are.

I like the idea of being self sufficient, but i think that it is far healthier to be community sufficient. With this in mind i've been thinking about the idea of community owned energy production. Has anyone encountered this or know of any places that already do this? What method of production are they using? What would work best? How could it be managed?

I'm sure that there are more efficient ways for a small community to be off-grid than for everyone to have their own turbines or solar panels. Surely it would be more efficient for that community to have one large turbine or similar. It would mean a more efficient production of energy, reduced maintenance costs, and would surely help towards that sense of interdependence.

The reason that i am putting this idea out there is because i am about to be moving to a new-build development where all of the houses have been built with some eco-features (maximising light, heat exchangers, sustainable building materials, ground drainage of greywater, etc.). Once all of the properties on this development have been sold, all of the home owners will automatically become members of the management company that will deal with maintenance on the site. I'm not sure how this will work in practice, but it seems like a great opportunity for the said community to do something like this. There will be about 150 homes on the development, and hopefully there will be a good proportion of home owners who have bought their home for similar eco reasons as i have and will therefore also be interested in this idea too.

Let me know what you think.

Martin

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Re: Community owned energy production

Post: #203078 Big Al
Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:13 pm

good luck,

I suspect that you will not get this off the ground because I feel that a lot of houses might be sold on the ethos of not costing much to run etc and what happens if you have an owner who decides to take up koi carp in big electric heated swimming pools etc?

I really like the idea but in todays selfish world .......


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Odsox
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Re: Community owned energy production

Post: #203083 Odsox
Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:12 pm

There is an Austrian town that is more than self sufficient in electricity, so much so that it exports it's excess. http://hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=au ... 2009-07-05

I can see how a whole town or village would work, but I'm with Bid Al on it working on a housing estate.
There will always be at least one person who doesn't want to participate for a variety of reasons, and how then do you exclude them from the wiring. Plus, how do you cope with a person that initially agrees but later decides not to pay their share ?
Shame as it's a very good idea.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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Re: Community owned energy production

Post: #203087 Green Aura
Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:01 pm

There are a couple of schemes up here in the Highlands. The community wind turbine produces electricity which is then sold to the power companies and the money put to "community improvements".

Our local Development Group is currently negotiating a similar scheme and it seems to be going ahead. There is some delay because the cabling or somesuch doesn't have the capability to take the electricity, just deliver it.

The bit that annoys me is that the locals own and maintain the turbines but don't get any cheaper electricity. And I'm not wholly sure how they get to decide what the "improvements" should be. I've been here over 3 years now and have never been asked to vote for anyone on the group. It's possible, even likely, that I may be very happy with whatever they decide but I'm not sure what avenues are open if I don't.

The other thing that worries me is the idea that these "improvements" should provide things that we incomers have run miles from but the locals have never had on hand - once they've arrived (whatever they may be) we'll never be able to get rid of them (I'm not convinced that incomers aren't deciding what the locals might want :roll: ). On Orkney they now have a showpiece shopping mall type thing! Where do I move to if one arrives here? :( :dontknow: :lol:
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Re: Community owned energy production

Post: #203096 grahamhobbs
Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:56 pm

Sorry that people seem to be rather negative on the idea because it seems an ideal situation to encourage it.

The houses obviously come with a mains electrical supply. To link them to the community supply, you would not want to run new seperate supplies to each house, so it means that you have to link it into the main supply to the estate. Linked to the grid in this way, the people that paid into the capital costs involved in setting up the community supply (the wind turbine or whatever) can simply share the the money made supplying electricity to the grid. Ok it's not a nice direct connection as if it was your own turbine where you can see directly the amount of electricity being produced, the amount going into the grid and the credit against your bill, but it will be a credit and as you suggest it should be more efficient than a single house set-up.

The only problem I can see is who will want a big community turbine in their back-yard?

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mcaville
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Re: Community owned energy production

Post: #203115 mcaville
Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:57 pm

Thanks for your replies. Even the negative ones are useful.

I'll have a look at the examples that were given, and then come back with some observations.

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Re: Community owned energy production

Post: #203184 dave45
Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:26 pm

Sounds very much like the Clifford Harper "Visions" series (of drawings) from the 70's - alternative community living.... well worth seeking out. I have them on paper - not sure if they are online.


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