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Plans to make Frome the greenest town in the country

FROME Renewable Energy Company is launching its first project this month, with ambitious plans for making Frome one of the greenest towns in the country.  

The new community-owned enterprise will encourage renewable energy projects in Frome and invite the community to invest in such schemes. It will also ask residents to think about energy efficiency in their own homes.

The first project is an ‘Open Homes’ initiative, where residents with carbon cutting and cost saving measures – from solar panels to water recycling –  will open their houses up to members of the community to demonstrate their eco-friendly measures. Frome Renewable Energy Company is currently asking people who would be prepared to showcase their homes to get in touch, ahead of the event next March.

But the enterprise’s ambitions are much bigger than this. Projects in planning include large industrial scale installations of solar panels, to a mini hydro scheme. Money generated from these projects will be reinvested in the community to fund energy efficiency and warm home schemes. 

The company hopes it can offer investors from the community a strong set of benefits; the chance to help reduce carbon emissions, reduce energy costs, support community projects, and receive a financial benefit from their investment as well.

Frome wants to boost its green credentials with renewable energy schemes, but there are other issues at stake as well. Rising energy prices, possible energy shortages and fuel poverty repeatedly hits the headlines in the national news – and they are all issues that Frome has to tackle too.

Anna Francis, one of the directors of the Frome Renewable Energy Company (FRECo) explains, “We are all concerned about ever increasing energy prices, potential power shortages and fuel poverty. It seems crazy to live in a wealthy country where over 7,000 people die each year because they can’t afford to heat their home.

“Local energy enterprises like FRECo will help by funding energy efficiency measures, and by generating energy locally we can work towards a more resilient system that doesn’t rely on large profit-making companies. FRECo is set up solely for community and environmental benefit.

“If anywhere can do it, Frome can!”

Anna continues, “A recent study looking at energy use in Frome found that Frome residents spend £14million a year on energy. Imagine what we could do if we reinvested that money into local renewables and energy efficiency. FRECo aims to play a small but important part in this transition.”

Founded by investment from Frome Town Council and Sustainable Frome, the enterprise will invite further shareholders to join the project.

Anna said, “I’ve been astounded by the enthusiasm, motivation and creativity of Frome residents.  Our sister energy enterprise in Bath raised £300,000 in a few weeks to invest in solar through their community share issue.  If anywhere can do it, Frome can!”

Could your home inspire others?

HAVEyou made your home greener in some way?Would you be prepared to share your experience with others?

One of the first projects for the Frome Renewable Energy Company is the ‘Open Homes Initiative.’ On the 15th and 16th March 2014 homes throughout Frome will be opening their doors to demonstrate how to cut carbon and costs.

From solid wall insulation to solar, from wood-fired heating to water recycling; whatever the measure – big or small, whether you own or rent your home, organisers would love to hear from people willing to showcase their homes next year. Participants will also be eligible for a free Energy Performance Certificate worth £50.

To find out more or get involved contact Anna at fromeopenhomes@gmail.com or call 07939 060688. The deadline for participation is 30th November 2013. Volunteers are also needed to assist with publicity for the event and help out on the day.