Village’s bid to be a clean energy beacon

The picturesque downland village of Firle
The picturesque downland village of Firle

Firle is striving to end its dependence on fossil fuels and become the first village in the country to be completely powered by clean energy.

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) has provided a grant of £19,180 to examine the feasibility of developing a heat network in the village that may be powered by heat pumps and a biomass boiler.

Most residents in the village currently rely on kerosene oil to heat their homes.

The feasibility study will be delivered by Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo), an award winning non-profit community group who have completed over 35 clean energy projects in the local area.

Kayla Ente, the founder and CEO of BHESCo, said: “This is the beginning of a journey which we hope will see Firle become the first village in the country to go fossil fuel free.

“Developing a renewable heat network will put Firle on the map as a shining example of how to create clean, affordable energy for village residents throughout England.”

RCEF is a £15 million programme, delivered by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Plan) and jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy(DBEIS).

It supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.

The fund provides up to £150,000 of funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready.

RCEF provides support in two stages. Stage one is the feasibility study and stage two is an unsecured loan of up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop a robust business case to attract further investment.

For more information on RCEF, visit www.wrap.org.uk/renewables