Companies based on the Manor Royal Business District in Crawley are joining forces to invest in clean energy and reduce their impact on the environment.
Re-Energise Manor Royal is a new local energy community working on behalf of businesses to attract investment into Manor Royal and deliver new clean energy projects for the business district, such as roof-mounted solar panels and batteries to store clean electricity.
This is an innovative collaboration between the public and private sector that aims to increase the amount of clean energy generated, shared, and used by local businesses and to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, helping them to take control of their energy supply and move towards net zero operation.
Creating a more sustainable Manor Royal is a key objective of the Manor Royal BID’s new business plan for the next five years and the County Council has worked alongside the BID and Crawley Borough Council to support this aim through the local energy community.
Re-Energise Manor Royal is a Community Benefit Society that will raise capital through community share offers, including a ‘pioneer’ share offer that will launch before the summer to attract initial capital investment. While investors will receive a return on their investment, Re-Energise Manor Royal will operate on a not-for-profit basis by reinvesting the financial surplus it makes from selling energy and other services into new energy projects that benefit members and the wider community.
Re-Energise Manor Royal is already working to deliver its first project, a 71kW solar PV installation at P&H Motorcycles, and a pipeline of new solar PV projects to be delivered in the first year is under development. These projects will secure a long-term income for the community and enable it to provide other benefits for member businesses in the years ahead. These include:
Offering energy trading so that companies without renewable energy systems can be supplied by their neighbours.• Combining, or ‘aggregating’, locally generated solar power to secure a higher price on the energy market.
Investing in battery storage technology and offering ‘grid services’ to the wider electricity network (i.e. supplying electricity to the grid when it is needed) to generate additional revenue for the local energy community.
Collectively buying energy services, such as maintenance contracts for energy systems, to deliver better value for money.
Providing specialist advice and support to help businesses invest in renewable energy.
The founding directors of the new local energy community are Tim Rose (Vice President Global Facilities Management, Elekta), Paul Searle (Managing Director, P&H Motorcycles) and Steve Sawyer (Manor Royal BID Executive Director).
Steve Sawyer said: “By harnessing the spirit of partnership, we have been able to formulate a way of working that makes good economic and environmental sense. The launch of the Manor Royal energy community is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a group of talented local authority and business people. It hasn’t been easy, but the effort will quite literally pay back many times, and in different ways. I thank everyone who has helped us to reach this point and put the Manor Royal Business District at the forefront of the net zero journey for business parks.”
Cllr Deborah Urquhart, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “The launch of the Re-Energise Manor Royal local energy community is part of our commitment to encourage a sustainable and prosperous economy – one of our key priorities, all of which are underpinned by a cross-cutting theme of climate change. This launch is an important step in empowering our businesses to take control of their energy supply and speed up their journey towards net zero operation, something the County Council is also working towards by 2030. By working together Manor Royal businesses will deliver larger, more cost-effective renewable energy projects than if they acted alone. Sharing and using the energy they generate will also offer them greater protection against external events such as volatile energy prices.”
Cllr Gurinder Jhans, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability at Crawley Borough Council, said: “This is a really exciting project that will deliver and promote renewable energy projects across the business district. Working with partner organisations to support the green transformation of Crawley’s economy is an objective in our new Corporate Plan and Re-Energise Manor Royal is a perfect example of how we can work together to make a real impact.”
With the BID and Crawley Borough Council, the County Council has played a key role in establishing Re-Energise Manor Royal.
Through two EU initiatives, the Interreg 2 Seas-funded BISEPS and LECSea projects, the authority has drawn in more than £1 million in external funding and provided energy expertise to carry out feasibility studies and establish an operating model for the local energy community.
It has also been able to draw in funding from the Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit to explore the potential for a district-wide heat network, and £35,000 from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership to create the community’s first business plan.
The project partners have also secured £1 million through the Towns Fund to support the development of new renewable energy assets on Manor Royal. Find out more at www.manorroyal.org
The LECSea project has received funding from the Interreg 2 Seas Programme 2014/20. This has been co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under subsidy contract 2S08-015.