The Lewes-based Ouse Valley Energy Services Company (OVESCO) has been named as a finalist for this year’s Ashden Awards, the UK’s leading green energy prize.
The community energy revolutionaries are competing with London-based charity Pure Leapfrog for the chance to win the Armstrong Ashden Award for Community Energy. An award worth up to £20,000 will be presented to the winning organisation at a ceremony at the Royal Geographic Society in London on May 22.
OVESCO is at the forefront of a community energy revolution, giving local residents the opportunity to take a stake in locally generated renewable energy and helping similar groups start up across the country. Formed by members of Transition Town Lewes in 2007, the company has installed solar panels on the roofs of two schools, a farm, a nursery and the Harveys Brewery depot in Davey’s Lane, Lewes, with more than 250 shareholders benefitting.
With dramatic plans for expansion, OVESCO is also dedicated to passing its know-how on to other community energy groups as part of a government initiative to scale up locally owned and generated energy.
Director Chris Rowland said: “The OVESCO team is delighted to be a 2014 Ashden Award finalist. This is a real boost for us, and for everyone who invested in our projects to generate renewable power in the Lewes district. Our aim is to scale up and bring about an expansion of community-owned renewable energy in the south east. OVESCO has just been awarded the Community Energy Peer Mentor Fund by the Cabinet Office, and we are supporting groups all over Sussex to set up their own energy co-ops with the help of the Sussex Energy Saving Programme.”