About this group
We set up Positive Energy Sussex to solve the problem of food waste. We have now found a site to rent in Hastings where we can build a 10,000 Tonne (per annum) Anaerobic Digester to turn catering food waste into renewable energy. This is a recent presentation on the project
There is still a lot to do - raise the funds and secure planning permission - which means engaging fully with our community to explain all the benefits that this project could bring to the area. There are 7000 of these plants in Germany and only 70 in the UK so we can show how other communities have benefited elsewhere and how all the problems associated with a plant treating waste have been solved. We visited a similar plant in Switzerland in the middle of a small town, 15 metres from the nearest houses, which supplies power and heat to a local district heating system. We can list all the obvious benefits - a saving of 10,000 tonnes per annum of CO2 emission, enough electricity for 750 homes, a really useful fertiliser for local farmers and growers, local green collar jobs, less waste traffic on the congested coast road, less waste going to landfill and incineration, better recycling rates - but we want to try and go one step further and give the community 100% ownership of the renewable energy generated by this plant.
To do this we have been co-operating with Energise Hastings and other community groups to set up a Community energy co-operative (Energise Sussex Coast Ltd) This is being registered as an Industrial Provident Society for the benefit of the community (IPS Ben Com) which aims to address the issue of fuel poverty in St Leonards, Hastings and Rother. For all of us who love living and working in St Leonards and Hastings, its' status as the most economically deprived town in the South East is something that challenges everyone, especially in this period of budget cuts - yet some of the potential solutions are staring us in the face every day. We have enough "free" resources all around us to do something positive - we are on the sea, with plenty of wind, sun and more biomass that any other county in England, so the opportunity is here to turn these resources into energy that can benefit the whole of the community, particularly those facing real hardship. The biogas plant is one of many projects we want to promote - and because it will work 24/7 turning waste into electricity and heat - we are confident that it can play a really valuable role in generating funds and opportunities for the whole community.
We are already linking with our neighbours on the industrial site (Emmaus - a charity which works for the homeless) on plans to supply their 23 flats with heat and power and to set up a commercial and catering food waste collection with them. We have an offer from a Green Energy Utility to buy the electricity from the plant and supply up to 250 local homes with power at a "community tariff", saving them up to £ 200 a year in energy bills. If the plant is operational by late 2013 the business rates it will be paying can also be retained by the Local Authority for the benefit of the community.
Please support our Energise Sussex Coast and Energise Hastings bids to raise funds through the Energyshare community fund!