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Funding boost for renewable school heating project

A community-led project which aims to heat six Nadder Valley schools entirely by renewable energy has received £27,000 in feasibility funding from the South West Energy Hub.

If the project is successful, the schools will no longer be reliant on fossil fuels for heating and hot water, significantly reducing both their carbon emissions and energy costs.

Led by Nadder Community Energy, the project will include Wylye Valley School; Semley School; St John’s, Tisbury; St Peter’s Academy, Wilton; Wardour School and St Gregory’s School, Marnhull.  The group has already successfully installed solar panels at several of the sites providing them with a cheaper supply of energy. Surplus income generated by the panels goes into a community fund which is set aside for local green projects.

Funding for this next stage of work been has provided by the government’s Rural Community Energy Fund, administered by the South West Energy Hub.

Sue Reed, Company Secretary at Nadder Community Energy said: “After the success of the schools’ solar project, renewable heating is the logical next step.  Green energy brings massive benefits for both the schools and the environment by cutting bills and reducing carbon emissions. It’s also a great way to get students, parents and governors engaged with tackling climate change – all contributing to Wiltshire’s target to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“The Rural Community Energy Fund grant will allow us to make sure the project is viable and to bring in the necessary expertise to navigate the complex legal and logistical processes involved. We’re grateful to the South West Energy Hub for their support.”

Paddy Bradley, CEO at the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) said: “The Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership is all about supporting the local economy, improving infrastructure and fostering innovation.  It’s fantastic to see how a creative approach to energy can be applied in the context of schools and we are excited to see the results of the feasibility study.”

Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the energy hub said: “This is a really exciting project which could really make a difference to the schools, the local community and the environment. We wish the group success with the feasibility study and hope it will inspire other rural communities in the South West to follow suit.” The South West Energy Hub is open to new applications for feasibility grants from the Rural Community Energy Fund. The deadline for the current round is here.