24 Feb 2019

Constantine Pre-school Going Solar

Chris Hussey

In 2015 Transition Constantine was working with Constantine Pre-school to raise funds for a solar PV system to be installed on the pre-school roof. This was done in partnership with the 10:10 Solar Schools organisation. The funding target was not achieved and the project was suspended – but the idea never went away. At the turn of 2018, it became clear that Transition Constantine had a source of funds available that could be used to revive the project. With the solar PV Feed In Tariff no longer being available after March 2019, the project was rapidly relaunched with the support of the pre-school committee. Things then moved very quickly, with ZLC Energy engaged to install a 4kW system over the February half-term holiday. A set of timelapse photos of the installation was obtained and can be seen in the movie: “Constantine Pre-school Going Solar”:

03 Jan 2016

Potential for hydro power?

Chris Hussey

There are a number of streams running through Constantine parish and out to the Helford river.  One with perhaps the largest catchment area flows out to Polwheveral Creek.  Given the rain in recent days there is a good flow of water at present:

Only five or six valleys along at Helston, Western Hydro Ltd. has installed a 200kW hydroelectric generator on the River Cober:

Western Hydro powerhouse, River Cober
Western Hydro powerhouse, River Cober

Although there’s a smaller flow here at Polwheveral, there may still be potential for a small hydro scheme?

19 Oct 2015

Fund-raising for the Pre-school solar roof

Chris Hussey

pre-school thermometerA wonderful total of over 200 supporting votes was achieved in the pre-school’s bid for a share of the Marks & Spencer Community Energy Fund. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to over-top the sheer weight of numbers from other projects in a first-past-the-post voting system.  In Cornwall the funding went to the Hayle swimming pool project.  So, the pre-school’s fund-raising continues, and the traditional fund-raising ‘thermometer’ has been re-erected (somewhat refurbished) at the school.

23 Apr 2015

The lost posts – Energyshare Awards Event

Chris Hussey

Following the success of the ‘crowdfunding’ bid for local support, we were informed that the Constantine Community Windpower project had moved on to the next stage of the awards process, and the project team were invited to an award ceremony at the Eden Project, along with all the other projects that had passed this first hurdle. On the night, to our delight, our bid for funding was awarded in full (£10,000) – the funds intended to cover all the expenses needed to see the project through to a successful outcome to a planning application. The photo is from the Western Morning News article about the event, with the full article here.

Group photo at the Energyshare Awards
Group photo at the Energyshare Awards
23 Apr 2015

The lost posts – Constantine Community Wind Project

Chris Hussey

Despite a long-standing interest in pursuing a community windpower project, all the best sites in the parish seemed ‘blighted’ by alleged interference with local radar systems, especially those at nearby Culdrose. A number of small local wind turbines have been approved, though, and this gave us hope when the group was offered, as a corporate donation, two slightly used Proven 6kW turbines. The offer coincided with the prospect of a grant award from Energyshare, which was being made available to community groups in Cornwall. A ‘bidding’ process for the grants was established via the Crowdfunder website, where each project made its ‘pitch’ on the website and recruited supporting votes. The website image below shows the Transition Constantine project page – and the magnificent total of 128 supporters. We were never quite sure how the success of the bid was evaluated – but that level of support got us through to the next stage of the bidding!Screenshot from 2015-04-22 19:45:39

23 Apr 2015

The lost posts – Pre-school Solar PV Project

Chris Hussey

Several years ago we experienced the solar ‘gold rush’ into Cornwall, when proposals for solar farms were springing up everywhere – and one of them was for a site in Constantine parish. It provoked much local opposition, and a large part of the objections seemed due to the fact that the project was being promoted by large, foreign-owned corporations, with most of the benefits expected to disappear out of the country. Conversations with objectors indicated that a small-scale, community-owned project might meet a quite different reception.

Since then the group has been looking for an appropriate site, preferably a community building of some kind, to test this out. The primary school would have been an obvious choice, but sadly due to the PFI ownership a roof mounted solar PV project would be out of the question. The next door pre-school has a much smaller roof, but would otherwise be a possibility for a small-scale system. Discussions with the pre-school committee indicated that they would be interested in pursuing such a project, and that the FIT-related income would be of value. Various funding options were considered, but in the end an application was made to the 10:10 Solar Schools programme, and the project was accepted onto the scheme for the 2014-2015 academic year.


01 Sep 2012

Adelaide heading for sustainability

Chris Hussey

After the sober content of the last post, some good news from the latest issue of Resurgence (now Resurgence & Ecologist).  In one article, Herbert Girardet describes the steps the Australian city of Adelaide has taken towards becoming a sustainable city.  In 2003 he was invited by the city to be a ‘thinker in residence’ focusing on the ‘greening’ of Adelaide. He and colleagues produced a report detailing a number of recommendations.  In November 2011 he returned to see what had happened as a result of the proposals made.  He says that Adelaide City Council “had taken many truly remarkable initiatives in the previous nine years”.  Picking a few plums from the list of achievements:

  • Over 26% of electricity is produced by wind turbines and solar PV panels
  • Of 600,000 houses, 120,000 have been fitted with PV panels
  • Solar hot water systems are manadatory for all new buildings
  • 15% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2000
  • 3 million trees planted
  • 20,000 hectares of land near Adelaide used for vegetable and fruit crops

The full report on his Adelaide visit can be downloaded from here.


15 Nov 2011

Sign of the times?

Chris Hussey

While visiting friends in Norfolk recently, I found myself marvelling at the Autumn Agricultural Review, produced as a quarterly supplement by the Eastern Daily Press.  This is clearly aimed at the regular farming community, yet within its 24 pages I found:

  • 7 adverts relating to farm-generated renewable energy (3 of them full page)
  • 2 articles on electricity generation via anaerobic digesters
  • 1 article on biomass-fuelled generation
  • 1 article on wind generation
  • 1 article explaining FITs
  • 1 article about the resurgence of the East Anglian native breed of pig (the Large Black)
  • 1 article focusing on the success of a farmer breeding Red Poll cattle (another native East Anglian breed)

What’s going on?

06 Sep 2011

Funding available for Solar PV for Cornish Communities

Chris Hussey

Over £20million is reported to be available to fund the installation of Solar PV systems on Community buildings in Cornwall. This funding provides for so-called “free” PV – i.e. the community will benefit if and when it can make use of any electricity being generated by the solar panels. The funders will benefit from the Feed-in-Tariff. However, this is a mechanism to get Community Solar PV systems installed. If anyone responsible for a community building in Constantine wishes to take advantage of this – please make contact with Transition Constantine or with CEP directly.  These systems have to be installed by March 2012. Further information here

06 Sep 2011

Community Power Cornwall installs first turbines

Chris Hussey

The recently formed Community Power Cornwall has completed its recent share issue and now has a total of £80,000 to invest in its early  projects. The first of these is the installation of two 55kW wind turbines at Tregerrick Farm, Gorran. One of their projects, closer to Constantine, is a turbine proposed for Bishops Forum – currently held up by a planning objection.

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