Press Release from Penny Clover:
Abingdon Hydro, the group planning to construct a hydro-electric scheme to generate energy from the weir on the River Thames, held their AGM for investors on Friday 23 January.
Aiming to create a wide local share ownership, already 375 people have given their support and invested £680,000 since the launch in November – and the offer is still open as more will be needed to start work this year.
Nearly half the investors came to the meeting to hear presentations about the progress over the past year and the way forward. Engineering consultants, Ridge Partners explained how costs for the designs, construction and running of the scheme will be assessed. They commented that even professional development companies “would take their hats off “ to Abingdon Hydro for the work done already to achieve planning permission and Environment Agency approvals.
There had been a good level of response from potential contractors to tender for the work, who understand that this is designed as a community project. Costs are still being refined, and the directors' target remains £1.25m.
Based on different senarios, a financial model was used to calculate the likely interest paid to investors and profit remaining for community environmental projects. All this generated lively discussion from members.
The final presentation drew the information together, with proposals for the way forward to make the project happen. These covered cost control and budgeting, and a further widening of the number of investors. Abingdon Hydro is now registered with the Trillion Fund, a website which recently raised over half a million pounds investment for a similar hydro scheme and will reach 15,000 potential new investors. Part of the construction costs, such as the fish pass, may funded by grants and would be actively followed up by Directors so as to reduce the dependence upon “top up” loans, which would add to the costs.
The Directors proposed that some of the investment monies should be used to fund the next stage of work needed to minimise the risks, confirm the financial target and start construction in 2015. This is an important goal as other elements depend on a start date this year. The proposal requested authority to spend up to 5% of the investment. However, an amendment was put forward from the floor to allow up to 10% to ensure there was sufficient to meet these important criteria. This received a positive response and in fact voted unanimously.
As the Chairman, Pat Lonergan said, “We set a closing date for the share offer, but we are keen to see as much of the capital needed to build in 2015 coming from investors. The tax relief of 30% is still available – at least until the Budget date so the offer is still open”
As the meeting was closing, one investor, Mr David Fordham, proposed a vote of thanks to the Directors and suggested that all present should go home and encourage their family and friends to invest as much as they had already done, to help reach the target.
1 Community-owned renewable energy from the River Thames at Abingdon
Details on how to invest are shown at http://www.abingdonhydro.org.uk/assets/documents/prospec-applic-form.
All UK tax paying investors can benefit from a 30% tax rebate on their investment. Details are
available on the website www.abingdonhydro.org.uk.
This makes it an attractive offer for people looking to get both a good return, often better than banks or other savings – up to 4%. This scheme ticks a lot of boxes – green, ethical, local investment in a sustainable energy source with an attractive and educational feature alongside the river in Abingdon
More details on web site: www.abingdonhydro.org.uk
PENNY CLOVER, DIRCTOR
25A SPRING ROAD
ABINGDON OX14 1AW
Member since: 10th July 2012
I love Abingdon and am passionate about promoting the businesses and events that are centred there. I want everyone to realise how great they are and how we should all be using them!