Innovative energy-saving scheme launched

AN INNOVATIVE project could see solar panels and energy-saving measures fitted to numerous schools and community buildings in Portishead, Pill and the surrounding area.

Environmental group, Low Carbon Gordano, has announced pioneering plans to raise funds from the Government and the community for the project, which aims to save thousands-of-pounds on the area’s energy bills.

The initial solar power and energy-saving schemes the group is considering could be carried out at Portishead’s town council buildings, the Heywood Surgery in Pill and four schools - Highdown Juniors, St Peter’s Primary and Gordano schools in Portishead as well as St Katherine’s School in Pill.

If all go ahead, they will cost about �400,000.

Low Carbon Gordano chairman Jon Gething said: “With energy price hikes already announced and more to come we need to face up to a future where energy is no longer cheap and plentiful.

“In the Gordano area of North Somerset we are spending nearly �50million a year on energy for our homes and for transport. Most of this money goes out of North Somerset.

“We want to invest local money in local energy with the benefits being kept in our community.”

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Low Carbon Gordano was established in April as a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society, the directors of which are all volunteers.

The group aims to create a community share issue in which members of the public can invest anything from �100-�20,000.

Investors will have a say on any decisions made and will receive a share of any surplus money made.

Low Carbon Gordano will also receive income through the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme, which will be used to provide a dividend to investors and repay the capital costs of the installations.

Over the 25-year lifetime of the installations the group hopes about �500,000 will be returned to the community through energy savings schemes and other projects.

Public meetings will be held to allow residents to have a say on any future projects and to learn more about, and possibly join, the community share scheme.

These will be held at the Folk Hall in High Street, Portishead, at 7.30pm on October 11 and at the Methodist church in Mount Pleasant, Pill, at 7.30pm on October 13.

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