Community offer for hydro power

Residents are being urged to support a community scheme to fund the first of two turbines in a village to produce renewable energy.

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A share offer has been launched to raise money to generate energy on the River Lune in Halton, near Lancaster

Residents are being urged to support a community scheme to fund the first of two turbines in a village to produce renewable energy.

A share offer has been launched to raise money to generate energy on the River Lune in Halton, near Lancaster in Lancashire, which can be sold to local eco-homes as well as the national grid.

Around £950,000 needs to be raised through a combination of community investors and loan finance, with profits benefiting charitable, educational and environmental projects in the area.

Kevin Frea, a founder member of Halton Lune Hydro, said: "This is an exciting opportunity for people to play a part in the creation of a community-owned co-operative generating clean, green, renewable energy. The enthusiasm and support that we have seen so far for the scheme, which we believe to be the largest community-owned hydro under way in England, has been incredible.

"We are trying to encourage the widest possible participation. The higher the level of community ownership the less money we need to borrow and therefore, more of the benefits of energy generation can remain in the community. With individuals increasingly concerned about issues of climate change and rising energy prices, community-led solutions can deliver economic, environmental and community benefits."

Michael Fairclough, head of community and co-operative investment at the Co-operative - which is helping the venture, said: "There is significant potential for communities to control, generate and benefit from their own renewable energy.

"By working together, people can be powerful catalysts for change capable of overcoming many of the challenges facing today's society, the environment and economy. Co-operation can be key to communities bringing about the change that they would like to see."