Greetings from the Hydro team! We now have a viable financial model and we will be issuing the full public share offer shortly after Christmas. Detailed plans for the Twin Archimedes screws are being drawn up as we speak and we hope to place an order for these as soon as funds have been raised! Construction will hopefully begin early summer 2020 so things to look forward to!
Announcing the Launch of Reading Hydro Pioneer Share Offer
We’re excited to announce the launch of our Pioneer Share Offer for Reading Hydro CBS. This is an initial investment round to support the early stages, including outline design work to ensure the viability of the project. You can support and invest in Reading Hdyro here!
Our Initial Pioneer Shares
We have got as far as we can supported by initial grants from the Reading Climate Change Partnership and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (now BEIS). All alongside countless hours from the support and work of our wonderful volunteers and growing community (that’s you).
Now we need to move quickly to the next stages! The government is ending the Feed In Tariff for renewable energy at the end of March 2019. In order to secure this extra income, essential for the viability for the project, we must register our scheme with Ofgem before then. We are working to achieve all the necessary permissions. In parallel we are commissioning an Outline Design for the project by an experienced contractor.
You can buy into our Pioneer Share Offer to kick start this project work. This will cover project permissions costs and the commissioning of the outline scheme design.
After all this we will be able to do a full design for the project, make our Main Community Share Offer, and build the scheme.
Without the money raised from this Pioneer Share Offer the project won’t happen for years.
All Pioneer Share owners will be members with a vote in our Community Benefit Society, be eligible to have their investment repaid over time once the scheme is up and running, and gain other perks along the way. If the scheme cannot be built the Pioneer Shares will not be able to be paid back.
Your money is at risk if the project fails; your support makes it more likely we will succeed.
IF YOU’RE INTERESTED TO FIND OUT MORE, INVEST IN SHARES, OR SUPPORT IN WHATEVER WAY YOU CAN, THEN PLEASE READ MORE ABOUT OUR PIONEER SHARE OFFER ON CROWDFUNDER.
There’s a distinct chill to the air, the leaves are turning hues of gold and rust red, drifting and floating down the river. Alongside this the squash are ripening! This means its most definitely Autumn and it’s time for the glorious Reading Town Meal .
This year, we’re delighted to be teaming up with The Reading Sustainability Centre to be popping-up in Forbury Gardens on Saturday the 29th of September from 12 to 4pm.
Alongside the delicious free veggie food that will be distributed, cooked by Reading College catering students and made from donated veggies from local allotment holders and home growers. There will be lots of interesting workshops, stalls, live music and yes, us, to come and chat to and share your eco waste and energy tips that we’ll be harvesting for Reading.
It will be a chance to chat with us to find out more about both organisations, where we’re up to with the project, as well as join as a member or get involved volunteering to help make Reading more sustainable.
We’ll give you a little tip in advance. Make sure you’re there early as the food goes fast!
It’s been a busy couple of months for Reading Hydro since our AGM at the end of March.
Firstly we want to say thank you to all who joined us there, voted, ate cake and helped us take Reading Hydro forward. Alongside this a huge and overdue welcome to all our new members that joined that evening and since. Apologies for our slow response in sharing more information about what we’ve been up to since then, alongside the different ways you can get involved:
To name a few:
There’s our facebook group where all can share ideas, inspiration and events (whether you’re a member or not). You can also follow and interact on our various social medis platforms, Twitter and Instagram. You can also ping us @rdgHydro or #rdgukHydro and we’ll pick up what you’re sharing (we love anything around the river, on the river, incolving the community, environment and renewable energy).
We’ve been holding monthly action evenings although in the last months have interspersed this with being and taking part at some events andworking on our plans.
As well as this, members can also opt in to join our slack working group communication, if you want to get active on particular topics. A key one at the moment is further publicty and communication support, digital online, graphic design, social media and community building.
Sun and Smiles on Bean Pole Day
No it wasn’t a spelling mistake in the title. Last month we took part in a wonderful yearly event held in the beautiful Caversham Court grounds. Bean Pole day, put on by Reading’s and Berkshire’s EcoNet conservation volunteers.
What is Bean Pole day, I hear you say? Well it’s an opportunity to buy Bean Poles (long thin peices of wood) as well as peas sticks, that you will be able to use to truss your beans and peas to.
Alongside this there were a whole host of local growing and green, ethical groups inlcuding growers from Tilehurst, Friends of the Earth, Global Justice now, the Reading Beekeepers and Food 4 Familes.
” But this seems to be something that would be too good to be true in Reading” – New member
We had a great time sharing what we’re up to at Reading Hydro as well as welcoming new member to the Community Benefit Society. A definite event to look out for and attend next year (especially when the sun shines)!
Hydro Field Trip
Members of the team and some of our wider board of experts also undertook a trip to the wilds of Cambridgeshire to visit a hydro scheme under development at the moment at Eaton Socon.
Here they are actually implementing the same VerdErg Venturi Enhanced Turbine Technology that we are looking at implementing in Reading. Like us, the part of the River Great Ouse that it is being implemented in has a low head of 1.4m.
It’s actually being installed right beside The River Mill pub that was the old mill there, so soon the pub will be getting much of it’s electricity from renewable hydro power and in a lovely sort of way, reclaiming it’s original heritage. We can’t wait to see it working later this year.
The great thing about Reading Hydro is seeing the different skills and support from our members and team that come forward to help with certain aspects.
Over the last number of Action Evenings, we’d been focusing on planning and structuring the different tasks. Ultimately ensuring that all the activities were documented and the flow of getting to building the Hydro were captured.
Recently we got together and restructured and detailed our planning and now have our Project Control Centre or PCC, (as all good engineering projects should be filled with acronyms), up and running. Particular thanks to all who have been involved with this.
Look Out For Our GDPR Communication and Updates
By now you’ve no doubt been unundated by countless emails from organisations, asking you to reconfirm you’d still like to hear from them, alongside our own.
For those of you who are members, as part of your membership is our communication to you on Reading Hydro and key events such as our AGM, so this additional email is primariliy related to our wider supporters who may not be members. Howevere, it’s quick and easy though to review and update your email details (or even sign up to our newsletter if not already) here.
We look forward to collaborating and sharing more with our growing community.
Come along to Reading Hydro’s 2nd AGM , hear updates, get involved and celebrate the progress we’ve all made!
We’ll be sharing where we’re up to with the project and reflect what we’ve done towards our objectives. Then carry on building on this together.
As a member it’s important that you are able to share your views, ideas and help us shape Reading Hydro going forward!
If you are not already a member you are more than welcome to join us as well and if you want can also join there. Just £1 to join our community co-op (we are a Community Benefit Society)
We’ll be downstairs at The Outlook (which also serves food) and we’ll be bringing some cake (including Vegan).
We’re looking forward to seeing and working with our members, volunteers and supporters to continue moving Reading Hydro forward!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Reading to have a Hydro Energy scheme on Caversham Weir that would be able to fund and support sustainability community projects in Reading?
Only a few years ago, in 2013, this was the origins of the idea being explored the Transition Town Reading Energy Group. Like all good ideas, it has developed over time and gone with the flow.
A brief history of Reading Hydro
From this, in January 2014 Reading Sustainability Centre launched out of the Greater Reading Environmental Network (GREN) as a community group. It was then formalised as The Reading Sustainability Centre CIC in January 2015 and was able to apply for and be awarded grants from several local charities and the Urban Community Energy Fund, to explore and develop the hydro project further.
Securing the Site
This enabled the Reading Hydro Project to
invest the time and energy into assessing and getting all the Environmental requirements together for obtaining the Environment licences in 2016.
The last big milestone happened in the spring of 2017 when planning permission was finally granted to allow the scheme to be built at Caversham Weir.
Becoming an Independent Organisation
In 2017 Reading Hydro also moved from being a project under The Reading Sustainability Centre into a stand alone Community Benefit Society (CBS), in readiness for the launch of a public share offer to raise the capital necessary to build the scheme.
Growing our Community
From an initial 4 directors, 2017 saw us growing to 6, bringing a range of skills and enthusiasm to the team. Alongside this, and perhaps more importantly, we’ve seen our membership grow to now over 50, and with a number of active volunteers supporting in areas from publicity and logo design to technical advice and funding applications. Members and supporters are now able to get involved during one of our Open Action Evenings , through discussions on our facebook group interact via Twitter, Instagram and get updates via our website and newsletters. We’re also connecting with schools and are looking forward to working with the ORSAnauts on renewable energy projects.
Bringing Renewable Energy to 2018!
What will 2018 bring for Reading Hydro? We look forward to developing it further with our active volunteers, supporting members and the local community! Join us at our next Open Action Evening.
A huge thanks to all our volunteers, members and supporters for helping Reading Hydro progress so much in 2017.
Here’s to an amazing and energy filled (renewable) 2018 where we’ve already got some exciting plans in the “pipeline” from your ideas (so better recharge those batteries before):
- Working with schools on educational resources and activities
- Building awareness through open data and signage in collaboration with The Things Network Reading
- Supporting the environment through enhanced Fish Passes
- Ensuring financially and environmentally viable by finalising the preferred tech
- Monthly Open Action Evenings and Socials
- Community and fundraising events – quiz’s, walks, runs, picnics, riverside photography competitions……and?
Don’t forget, there are loads of ways you can get involved and support bringing Renewable Hydro Community Energy to Reading.
Reading Science & Tech Meetup Groups Christmas Gathering – Tuesday 12th December 2017
We’ve progressed a long way this year, down to the help and support of so many wonderful members, friends and family, so what better excuse to get together to celebrate? Oh yes and Christmas is coming….
As part of Reading Hydro’s aim is to grow awareness of the scheme and the joy of renewable Hydro energy, we’re teaming up with a whole host of other Science, tech and startup groups around the Thames Valley for an evening of sharing, learning, merriment AND a themed Pub Quiz on the evening of the 12th of December.
So get the evening of the 12th of December in the Diary and join us upstairs in Walkabout from 7pm.
Special Edition Reading Hydro Festive Cards
It’s that time of year again, time to get the pen out and reconnect with friends and family all over the world in a good old handwritten personal style. Reading Hydro are delighted that this year we will be offering Festive Cards (with a not to subtle Reading Hydro theme of course).
All profit from the sale of these will go to the development of the Community Benefit Society and growing awareness of the scheme which is voluntarily run.
We’d like to get an idea of demand and numbers to order (as this can also lower the cost). So if you think you’d probably buy a few or more*, then it would be great if you could let us know – either in the Facebook group feed or email Erica directly by this Thursday (23rd of November).
We have the draft design (by Nicky Johnson Designs), however this may be tweaked. The inside is blank. We expect the cards to cost £1 or less and discounted when buying more.
*Indicating how many you may buy does not commit you to having to buy them, but will help us get a feel for numbers and we can make sure you’re notified when they’re available at the beginning of December.
Reading 2050 was established in 2013 by the School of the Built Environment, Barton Wilmore and Reading UK CIC to deliver a strategic, long-term vision that will support the delivery of Reading’s legacy of a truly smart & sustainable city.
As you can imagine Reading Hydro are excited to see sustainability and energy such a key focus alongside connecting this with “smart“, so also recognising the potential possibilities linked with integration of Iot and opendata (bottom up and top down) to support a more sustainable Reading.
As with so many sustainability initiatives, it is important to make sure considerations on technology and the surrounding infrastructure are made alongside that of the community and the environment. As well as this, all with a view to the longterm. This is similar to Reading Hydro, where we are looking at both the short and longer term steps to bring hydro electricity generation to the river Thames at Reading, considering:
Integrating building up further knowledge, education and resources for schools on renewable energy generation, through data, sensing and communication. In collaboration with The Things Network Reading and open commuication and collaboration with the local community and organisations.
Showcase sustainable renewable energy production via practically doing! Alongside this, improving the local biodiversity by an enhanced fish and eel pass, as well as increasing care for the area by our growing supporting hydro community.
Exemplify a sustainable Community Benefit Society business model that both pays for itself and is able to support the community projects through supplying funding.
Back to Reading 2050 Public Lecture series and highlighting two of the talks we’ll definitely be attending:
- The Future of Energy in Reading on the 16th of November
- Climate Change and flooding in Reading: Current and future risks on the 14th of December
Perhaps see you there, to work on Readings’ sustainable future, or one of our other meetups?