News

Could you be our next treasurer?

We are seeking for a new volunteer Board member to help West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCORE) and Osney Lock Hydro (OLH) advance into the future

WOCoRe and OLH are two independent, but closely collaborating, volunteer-run community energy organisations operating in West Oxford.  We are managed through a board of directors. From October 2019 there will be a vacancy for the position of Treasurer to join the boards and oversee the financial activity of these inspiring projects.

You will help shape the next stages of our work whilst making sure that our finances are sound and that our financial systems and accounts deliver the information we need, in association with the bookkeeper, fellow directors and accountant.

You will need to have a commitment to our aims, and to combine good independent judgement with a clear vision of what we can achieve. You will need to be able to think creatively and to meet the statutory requirements of a community benefit society.

The board meets most months, and meetings are currently at lunchtime during the week – in central Oxford.  The position is not paid, but reasonable expenses can be met. It is preferred if you live within 5 miles of West Oxford.

WOCoRe is the community led social enterprise that pioneered the double carbon-cut model: starting in 2009, WOCoRe has leased organisations’ roofs for a peppercorn rent, installed solar PV panels, generated renewable electricity (carbon cut no. 1), sold electricity back to the organisations and the grid, claimed feed-in tariff, and made donations to Low Carbon West Oxford, thereby helping fund work to reduce West Oxford’s carbon footprint further (carbon cut no. 2).

WOCoRe was also responsible for the planning of Osney Lock Hydro (OLH) and establishing it as a separate community benefit society in 2013, to operate the first community-owned hydro on the Thames. Plans are in train to transfer the engagements of Osney Lock Hydro back to WOCoRe, so that the two organisations will merge.

To find out more, please contact us to arrange an initial informal chat with one of our current Directors.

National Lottery helps unlock the power of our river

We are thrilled to announce we have been awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £9900 for an exciting heritage project, Osney Lock Hydro: Unlocking The Power of Our River. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project supports a series of community based arts projects that celebrate the links between the local history of energy generation in West Oxford, and the local and global environment.

Supported through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project kicks off this summer with a river inspired ‘Midsummer Meander – a river themed arts trail across West Oxford. People from across the community are invited to join in and help celebrate our centuries old connection with the river.  You can sign up to participate here

Part of the trail will feature art works created by local school children, which will be displayed at Osney Lock Hydro.

The arts project is being delivered in partnership with local charity Low Carbon West Oxford.

Mim Saxl, Lead Programme Manager at Low Carbon West Oxford said “The project will give local people the chance to learn about the ecology of our river.  Our local streams and river are home to a whole host of species of fish, as well as otters, kingfishers, herons and more.  We are really looking forward to working with the local community to discover its hidden depths!”

The second phase of the project will be taking inspiration from these native species to create a human sundial featuring local plants and animals. This will be installed at Osney Lock Hydro in the summer of 2020.

We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. As we face the growing threat of climate change, the project gives us the opportunity to explore the interconnectedness between our industrial and natural heritage. The hydro shows that it is possible to harness the power of nature, in a way that can also enhance the ecology around us.

TNLHLF_Colour_Logo_English_RGB_0_0

Osney Lock Hydro to take part in £40 million project to transform our energy system

We are very excited to be one of the many community energy projects across Oxfordshire that will be participating in Project LEO – Local Energy Oxfordshire.

The project has been awarded £13.8m from the UK Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, managed by Innovate UK, and will be supported by £26m of private funding from the project partners. Community energy will be at the heart of this innovative project to transform Oxfordshire’s energy system.

To prevent runaway climate change we need to find a way to meet our energy needs whilst keeping fossil fuels in the ground. The drive for decarbonisation also provides us with the opportunity change the way individuals interact with our energy system, enabling people to stop being passive consumers and become active energy citizens.

Project LEO aims to show how we can meet Oxfordshire’s energy needs in a way that’s good for people and good for the planet. The three-year £40 million trial will work with individuals, communities and organisations from across the County to understand how we need to re-engineer the technology and markets that underpin our energy system to make this happen.

Through the project, the Low Carbon Hub and its project partners from the community, commercial and public sectors, will carry out real world projects and pilots across Oxfordshire.

LEO-LOGO-002-

Volunteers needed for our Spring clean

Maintenance morning at the hydro – Saturday 30th March
Could you spare an hour or so to help out at our spring clean morning? Join us down at the hydro between 10 and 12 to help with a spot of gardening, cleaning and DIY to tidy up the site. If you are able to join us please let us know via this short form and bring along gardening gloves and tools. 

Annual generation target met for 2018/19

With still some days to go to the end of the financial year, we have met our average generation target for the year.

Our annual generation target is 179,000 kWh, representing the annual target we hope to achieve in a typical year, enough to power 55 homes. However, hydro generation is very dependent on rain fall, so is anticipated to vary between 50% and 150% of the 179,000 kWh average each year.

You can see our latest generation figures on our performance page and find out if we are currently generating by following our recent live generation outputs on the People’s Power Station

Westmill guides visit the hydro

We were delighted to host a visit from the dedicated team of volunteer guides from Westmill Wind farm and Solar Park at the hydro today. It was great to have the opportunity to share our enthusiasm for community owned energy.

We have already have almost 200 visitors to the site on our guided tour programme this year, and with requests for more tours arriving every week.  If you are interested in joining our team of volunteer tour guides please let us know. It’s a great way to support community energy and full training is available.

A birds eye view of the archimedes screw

Winter generations starts

After the occasional few hours of operation over the past month, the recent rains have filled the river and the winter generation season has started in earnest. The trash screen team are being kept busy, keeping the hydro free of branches and leaves, to ensure optimal flows.

A splash of autumnal colour on the river bank

A splash of autumnal colour on the river bank

 

Great turn out for Open Doors

We were delighted to welcome almost 200 visitors to the hydro this Sunday when we opened our gates as part of the Oxford Open Doors weekend.

During our two hour event 198 people took the opportunity to get on site and see the hydro close to. As well also local residents, we were delighted to welcome visitors from across the County and as far afield as the United States.

Although we had been able to offer a limited number of guided tours in the past, this was the first time we were able to open up the site to all comers as part of the event. This was in part thanks to a grant from Westmill Solar towards the final section of ballastrading to secure the river edge.

Thank you to everyone who came to visit – and to the volunteers who were on hand to welcome visitors and answer their questions.

Opening the gates for Open Doors 2019

Opening the gates for Open Doors 2019

Oxford Open Doors 2018 – Sunday 9 September 2-4pm

We’re taking part in Oxford Open Doors ! Organised by Oxford Preservation Trust and the University of Oxford it’s a weekend when we celebrate the city – its places, spaces and, most of all, its people.

We’re opening our doors (or more accurately – gate) 2-4pm on Sunday 9th September.   No need to book – just pop on by to meet with the volunteer team who run the hydro and a peek into the powerhouse.