10:00AM, Friday 18 February 2022
Photo by Alan Bostock
A renewable energy co-operative is calling for the Government to bring in ‘more pathways’ to fund future projects following the success of its latest venture.
The volunteer-led MaidEnergy and Thames Valley Athletics Centre have teamed up once again for a project to replace eight old gas boilers with a new ground source heat pump at the centre in Pococks Lane.
The two organisations previously worked together to install solar panels on the roof of the athletics centre in 2020.
This was made possible by the Government’s Feed-in Tariff, which has since closed to new applications.
The latest scheme, which cost £200,000, was funded with the help of the Government’s Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, which has also now closed to new applications.
Reflecting on the ‘devastating’ loss of financial viability for future projects, Nicola Davidson, volunteer director at MaidEnergy, said the Maidenhead-based society is keen to see if the Government will bring in another tariff as it’s ‘hard to create financially viable projects without them’ – particularly smaller ones.
“We want the Government to bring in more pathways for groups like ours to continue to use the huge wealth of knowledge and expertise we’ve gathered,” said Nicola.
“We are all volunteers so present enormous community value.”
Leah Robson, MaidEnergy’s chair of directors, added: “We’d love to do more low-carbon heat projects locally and we hope the government get round to replacing the Renewable Heat Incentive soon so we can.”
On Saturday, Windsor MP Adam Afriyie opened the new low carbon heating system in a ceremony.
It was attended by 42 people, including MaidEnergy members, athletes from the centre and Royal Borough councillors including council leader Andrew Johnson.
Karl Fenwick, director of Datchet and Eton Leisure, which manages the atheletics club, said “Our gas boilers were at the end of their life, and we really wanted to find a cleaner way to heat the building.
“Partnering with MaidEnergy means we can get this new low carbon heating system without having to pay the capital cost up front.’
Mr Afriyie, said: “We need to cut emissions from heating to tackle climate change and we need lower energy bills, so I was delighted to open this low carbon heating system and look forward to seeing many more in the years to come.
“Congratulations to Thames Valley Athletics Centre and MaidEnergy Ltd for making it happen.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We are supporting low carbon community energy projects through other funding schemes, such as the Community Renewal Fund and the Towns Fund.
“Ofgem also supports projects through its Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, which allows groups to apply for funds to deliver energy projects.”
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.