Congratulations to Norham’s First Community Renewables Project

Big congratulations to Norham Development Trust who have successfully obtained the maximum funding of £100000 through the Community Energy Fund which will enable them to finalise a full planning application and explore the financial and business model required to deliver their first ever 10MW project.

Here’s how they did it:

Norham is a village 5km southwest of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and Norham Development Trust Ltd (NDT) is a community organisation managed by a volunteer Board of 5 Directors. In the spring of 2021, it was decided to seek funding to undertake a feasibility study, the main drivers of which were to identify potential projects that can assist the local parish in decarbonisation, as well as the potential to generate revenue for the local community though the development of renewable projects and potentially offset electricity use in public buildings such as the village hall. Funding for the initial study was provided by Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF)

The study recommended that a modest commercial development of a single wind turbine (generation capacity of 0.9MW Model EWT DW54) and a solar array (capacity of 8.9MW consisting of approximately 25500 panels), giving a total generating capacity of 9.8MW, situated 700m south of Norham, provided the best prospect at present. Our plan to fund capital costs is to explore a mix of unsecured bonds, community shares and commercial borrowing with as little involvement from a development operator as possible. We have had an encouraging, exploratory meeting with Thrive Renewables, thanks to an introduction from Community Energy South.

Together with our consultants and the Climate Change Team at Northumberland County Council (NCC) we have held several community briefing meetings to outline our plans and these were all extremely well received. The site landowners have signed a 2-year Exclusivity Agreement and are very supportive. Our consultants submitted a pre-planning application to NCC receiving encouraging and detailed responses. Financial and general assistance has been received from the Climate Change Team within NCC and Berwick Community Trust. Grant assistance from RCEF enabled the submission of a scoping report, based on the responses to the pre-planning application, prior to a full planning permission application. We pursued a grid connection application with Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) and received an offer which we were able to accept, and pay the acceptance fee, thanks to funding from the Energy Project Enabling Fund.

Community Energy South have provided invaluable assistance, support, and guidance, as has our Member of Parliament. We have now been successful in obtaining funding from the  Community Energy Fund which will enable us to finalise a full planning application and explore the financial and business model required to deliver the project.


By Jim Greenwood,

Norham Development Trust