Our next big project catches some wind.


Harbury e-Wheels gets wind in its sails from the Rural Community Energy Fund

Harbury e-Wheels is delighted to announce the award of a grant of £33,972 from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF). The funds will allow us to assess the feasibility of installing an innovative vertical axis wind turbine to deliver energy to charge points for electric cars for the benefit of residents of the village of Harbury and to provide funds to keep e-Wheels rolling.

The Project

Our project aims to capture and store the the energy in wind and sun to mitigate the effects of climate change in our community. An innovative vertical axis wind turbine, delivering 12kW, will be installed with an energy storage battery to provide electricity through charge points for the two electric cars of Harbury e-Wheels and for public use in the village. The facility will also aspire to be able to produce hydrogen through electrolysis for use in tomorrow’s hydrogen powered vehicles in readiness for the transition to hydrogen technology. Solar PV panels will be added to the energy mix.

Income generated by the project will go to fund Harbury e-Wheels for the long term. Harbury e-Wheels is a registered charity (no 1182910) that arose from a village low carbon group, Harbury Energy Initiative (HEI). Harbury e-Wheels provides free transport, using 2 electric cars, to people in need referred by local social agencies. The wind turbine project aims to generate energy for the benefit of the local community as well as through its revenue stream to provide secure funding for e-Wheels. The feasibility study will show whether the project is likely to fulfil its ambitions.

“At a time when action at all levels is critically needed to make a significant impact in reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions it is really exciting to be at the beginning of a project designed specifically to benefit our own community. Harbury e-Wheels needs regular funding and this is a great way to do it. We hope that all the benefit from this project will return to the village and surrounding area.” Bob Sherman, Chair Harbury e-Wheels.

“The Rural Community Energy Fund received numerous requests during our current grant cycle. Your project stood out as being both innovative and having substantial social and community benefit. I am delighted to congratulate you on securing the funding to look into the feasibility of the vertical axis wind turbine to generate energy to power the vehicles.” Michael Gallagher, Regional Energy Project Manager Midlands Energy Hub. 

Harbury e-Wheels

Harbury e-Wheels is a volunteer run transport scheme based in Harbury that uses two electric cars to support those in our local communities who, for medical or financial reasons, have few or no transport options. Originally launched by Harbury Energy Initiative and in association with the local church’s Supporting Communities Group, Harbury e-Wheels is now an independent programme and registered charity but maintains those links. The scheme provides around 1,500 hours of free transport every year.

The programme works with local agencies such as Children’s Centres, surgeries, P3, Citizen’s Advice, food banks and other community services on a referral basis only. 

Harbury e-Wheels provides this low carbon clean transport at absolutely no cost to the user or agency. We are only able to do this through the generosity of private donors and grants from various sources including Harbury Parish Council, Southam Town Council, Bishop’s Itchington Parish Council, Heart of England Community Energy and other trust funds. 

Rural Community Energy Fund

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is being delivered by the five Local Energy Hubs in England on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In this region it is administered by The Midlands Energy Hub.

Clean renewable energy generation at community level is beneficial both to the community and the wider environment. By reducing dependence on fossil fuel based energy generation communities can secure future energy supply, gain protection from rising fuel costs and duties and reduce the risk of fuel poverty. Income from renewable projects can be used to provide benefits to the community, create jobs, and promote social cohesion.

The Fund aims are to:

  • Support rural communities – by helping them to maximise the income generating potential of renewable energy and put this to work locally;
  • Increase the uptake of community and locally owned renewable energy, to support the Government’s targets for renewable energy and carbon reduction; and
  • Promote rural growth, job creation and volunteering opportunities – to enable communities to access the economic benefits associated with renewable energy schemes.

The Fund will achieve its aims by removing the barriers to investment, which is currently seen to be preventing the development of community scale projects, such as the up-front costs associated with gaining planning permission, designing a scheme and providing evidence of technical feasibility. It does this by providing funding to community organisations to establish the feasibility of and develop the business plan for a renewable energy facility. Currently the cost of exploring feasibility and developing an investment ready business plan is high and finance for this is not readily available in the commercial market.


For further information about Harbury Energy Initiative and Harbury e-Wheels, please contact: Bob Sherman – tel: 01926 612277 email: info@harburyenergy.co.uk

For further information about RCEF, please contact: Ruth Mulvany – tel 07874 795172 email: ruth.mulvany@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

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