Residents in West Oxford are implementing an award winning climate change project aimed at reducing their community’s CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. The model works as follows:
- West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCR), an Industrial and Provident society for the benefit of the community, raises money from a mix of government grants, prize money and its own share offer
- It invests the capital in community renewable energy projects based on the natural resources of our area – solar PVs on buildings, a micro-hydro in the Thames and small wind projects on surrounding hills – to reduce the community’s CO2 emissions
- The electricity is sold to the building/land owners (with any excess sold to the grid) and the surplus donated to Low Carbon West Oxford, a registered charity, to fund further carbon reduction projects in the community. Current projects include the Low Carbon Living Household Programme, plus tree and wildlife, transport, waste reduction, and sustainable food projects.
This approach therefore:
- produces a double cut in CO2 emissions from the renewable energy projects and other carbon reducing projects in the community
- enables the community to generate a self sustaining flow of income
- generates a range of other social and economic benefits for the community
The West Oxford project
In 2009 the West Oxford project won over £900,000 pounds from a mix of a government grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (The Low Carbon Communities Challenge) and prize money from a national climate change competition (The Big Green Challenge run by).
The bulk of the government grants and prize money has been channelled to WOCR and has been used, alongside capital from the share offer, to install solar panels on a range of buildings including a not for profit, a secondary school, and social housing. WOCR is also developing a microhydro project at Osney Weir and small wind projects.