Parish of Crosby Ravensworth Anaerobic Digester News

Up-date:  October 2010

Rural Carbon Challenge Fund
Many of you will now have heard that we were not successful with our application to the Rural Carbon Challenge Fund.  Because of the support we have received from so many people and the interest which has been shown, we have decided to share with you the summary of comments on our application from the assessors and NWDA board.

Project Name: Lyvennet Renewable Energy – Community Anaerobic Digestor

Key Strengths
The applicant has provided a well thought out community spirited application with a clear rationale and objectives that strive to maintain benefits locally.
The proposals clearly align to principles of developing sustainable rural communities and there are a broad range of beneficiaries including local farmers and businesses.
Use of a share option would enable reinvestment into local schemes, so in that respect there were good social benefits.
It was felt that there was a strong project partnership and clearly defined training outputs.
The high levels of CO2 savings predicted and high levels of leverage were also plus points.

Key Weaknesses
The greatest uncertainty associated with the proposal was achieving the loans and equity which are not yet in place. Without the loans and equity there is significant risk behind the proposal.
In addition the financial plans as they currently stand would mean that the business would be very highly geared with a debt equity ratio of 9:1.
Further uncertainty is created over the finances within the application as some of the cost calculations are vague or underdeveloped and based on estimates, for example operating costs are worked out as a percentage of  capital costs.
Agreement not reached or agreed on raw materials.
Although the CO2e calculations represented good value for money they included savings from a further two plants which, although there is potential for them to be established, present an area of uncertainty as these proposals have not been developed. Furthermore, the savings calculation included wider savings however it has not included the wider negative impact.
The district heating system for the social housing requires the use of RHI. It was felt that, although this was a good idea in principle, it was still at a developmental stage.

RDPE Boards decision: Considering the comments from the assessors and the strategic aims of the programme, the board decided that this project will not receive a grant via the RCCF.

From their comments it is clear that we were simply not far enough advanced in or detailed planning and there were too many outstanding variables in the project. This result will obviously have implications for our plans, particularly with respect to our inability to buy an equity stake in the AD plant on behalf of the parish community. However, our partnership with CPI remains strong and they have committed to finding the additional funds so the scheme can move forward. We are also seeking further advice on other fund raising opportunities with Envirolink NW as well as following up other funding sources.

2.  Lyvennet Renewable Energy Ltd.
We were pleased that some of you who were at the Community Meeting on 15th September chose to become members of LRE.  We now have twelve members and will be holding our first Directors’ Meeting early in October; a Members’ Meeting will be held shortly after this.

LRE Ltd. has been set up to ensure that the parish benefits from cheaper energy prices. To date the development of an AD plant has been our main focus but there are other opportunities which can be pursued in parallel.  Membership is free with the liability of each member being limited to £1 in the event that the company is wound up.  As a member you will be sent notification of all general meetings and you will be entitled to vote at Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary Meetings.  (If you would like more information, please get in touch with Maureen, 01931 715 370.)

We have been successful in our application for a grant of £1000 from Eden Strategic Partnership. We have also received donations from those who support the aims of the company. Together, these will help with the work of LRE to be taken forward.

Fells and Dales Grant
As mentioned at the Community Meeting, we received a grant of £9500 from Fells and Dales for the following purposes:  a) to set up LRE  b) for an initial feasibility study for 1MW generation at our preferred site for the AD plant  c) for pre-planning work related to that site.  The company is now established; we are expecting to receive the feasibility study during October.  Discussions have taken place with our partner (Centre for Process Innovation) about the pre-panning work so we are expecting some progress on that front very soon.

Whilst the failure to secure the grant is disappointing, we are pleased that the scheme can still go ahead. We are also confident that other opportunities will enable us to ensure that the core objective of community benefit can still be delivered.

Maureen Newrick,  Peter Ward    01/10/10


4 thoughts on “Parish of Crosby Ravensworth Anaerobic Digester News

  1. Well done Maureen and Peter. It looks like you’ve made some good progress on a totally admirable project. I can’t see any downside to AD, it is a very promising technology – the poster child of practical, environmentally sustainable industry. Well done Fells and Dales!

    I’m a bit disappointed in the RCCF’s reticence to be in the vanguard of the funding arrangements, but sense that they may come on board when the project advances further.
    Please sign me up, I think your project is very progressive.


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