Ribble Valley residents have extended a community share offer in a bid to raise the money needed to generate community-owned clean energy on the River Calder.
After raising almost £300,000 in three weeks, the share offer – launched last month with support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub – will now remain open until Wednesday, December 11th.
Whalley Community Hydro is aiming to raise £400,000 through its share offer to install an Archimedean screw turbine capable of generating up to 345,000kWh of renewable energy each year. It is hoped that work could begin as early as spring.
Mr Graham Sowter, a founder member of Whalley Community Hydro, explained: “We are delighted with the response that we have had and, with expressions of interest continuing to arrive daily, we decided to extend our share offer. Greater levels of community ownership will mean that more of the benefits of the energy generated can remain local to support environmental, charitable and community projects in Whalley and the surrounding areas.”
The hydro-electric scheme will revive the river’s 600 year-old weir and, comes after almost four years of research and planning, including a Department for Energy and Climate Change funded study into river flow and feasibility.
Mr Michael Fairclough, head of community and co-operative -investment at The Co-operative, 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 society, the environment and economy.”
Shares in Whalley Community Hydro cost £1 with a minimum investment of £250 – up to a maximum of £20,000.
Organisers aim to pay a return of between 3–5% to investors who may also qualify for the Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
Anyone requiring further information regarding this project or wishes to obtain a copy of the share offer document is asked to visit www.whalleyhydro.co.uk