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December 2020

Barcombe News – Could our village be a pioneer for green energy?

By Mark Engineer

Barcombe resident and Ovesco Operations Manager
Nicki Myers and Mark Engineer from Ovesco at Sewells Farm solar scheme, in Barcombe

Oil heating isn’t great in a lot of ways. It can be costly. It’s messy and it’s smelly. You have to remember to monitor your oil levels. (My house ran out last winter. The experience of staggering around with jerrycans, trying my hardest not to spill oil in my back garden, isn’t one I’d care to repeat.)

But worst of all, it creates a LOT of CO2. And this means no matter what steps you take to lower the carbon footprint for your household – installing solar, driving less, eating locally sourced food – you know it’s going to be significantly higher than the national average, simply because your home runs on oil. And of course it’s not just us Barcombites (Barcombians?) who have this issue. Around 1.5 million households across the UK have oil heating, and it accounts for a sizeable chunk of national emissions. Phasing it out is essential if the UK is to meet its zero emissions targets.
This month, Lewes-based community energy group Ovesco are launching a project (the first of its kind in the UK!) to help find a way for our village to transition to electric heating. This project, which is called ‘CommuniHeat’ and will be undertaken in partnership with electricity network provider UK Power Networks and engineering consultancy Buro Happold, will run for the next two years. Locally recruited ‘energy champions’ will gather data on current energy usage from hundreds of local houses by undertaking surveys and installing free meters. This data will be used to plan for how the village could make the transition to electricity. The ultimate goal is to get the village to net zero emissions by 2030 while also creating new local jobs, and to create a masterplan which could be replicated across the country and make Barcombe a pioneer in sustainable energy.

Projects like CommuniHeat could play a huge part in tackling the climate and environment emergency, and safeguarding the future for our children and their children. Being at the forefront of this is exciting stuff! Nevertheless, some of us will have questions. Some of us will wonder about the impact of such a major transformation on our village. All perfectly understandable. That’s why Ovesco will be running regular online community events and forums so residents can find out more, and someone will always be on hand to answer all your questions via email or phone.

If you’d like your household to take part in the project, or you’re interested in becoming an energy champion, or you have any questions, then you can call Ovesco on 01273 472405 or email

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