Initially we gave advice about insulation and the renewable technologies. Later on we felt the need to generate our own electricity from renewable sources.
This lead to the formation of Whitby Esk Energy and the 6 year saga to building our hydro turbine near Whitby.
Before we could start we needed to know if the project was feasible financially, physically and ecologically.
A feasibility study showed that it was, so we progressed to jumping the hurdles of planning permission, (water) abstraction licence, landowner support, connection to the electricity grid, finding a supplier and funding.
We couldn't have achieved the project without help from the North York Moors National Park Authority, Co2Sense, Keyfund, NatureSave, North Yorkshire County Council and the 100+ individuals who bought community shares in our enterprise.
We share our experiences as much as possible to help others who want to learn about renewable energy and we promote renewable energy in schools and universities.
We also want to encourage anybody interested in the project to join our team looking after the turbine and managing the organisation.
Use all the skills in your group - everybody brings something different
Be in it for the long haul - it will take longer than you think
Operation and maintenance is very different from designing and building - make sure you have access to all the skills
Succession planning is vital - make sure you keep your organisation active and welcoming