8 Sep 2010
Announcing the Arrival of the Totnes Renewable Energy Society!
This Friday night in Totnes (7pm in the Civic Hall), a historic event occurs, the launching of the Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC). TRESOC describes itself as “an Industrial and Provident Society established to enable the community of Totnes and surrounding parishes to take charge of the development of our renewable energy resources and provide maximum benefit to the local economy”. It originally emerged from an Open Space Day on energy held by Transition Town Totnes, and although it is not a TTT project, it is clearly a key part of the infrastructure of relocalisation as set out in the Totnes & District EDAP. Anyone in Totnes or the surrounding parishes will be able to buy between £20 and £20,000 of shares, which will entitle them to one vote. The model means that the company will be democratically owned, and provides a safeguard from takeover by large commercial interests. TRESOC will be announcing, on the night, news of its first major renewable energy projects which have, until now, been kept tightly under wraps. The share option pack will also be available on TRESOC’s website from just after the launch. I will be posting a report about the launch, and will be taking my cheque book in order to be among the first to invest in the renewable energy future of my community!
9 Sep 1:12pm
TRESOC are really missing a trick only allowing people in Totnes and surrounding parishes from investing.
Recent research has shown that most investment in community share issues like this comes from outside the area…
“There is a trend for more distant members to be investing larger sums.”
Any chance of getting the rules amended to allow more people to support this wonderful initiative and hence make it much more likely to succeed?
9 Sep 1:19pm
I guess the organisers may be of the mind that only local people should have a say. Personally I’d disagree because I believe everyone should have a say about decisions that effect them and since we’re all connected and share the same atmosphere, all decision effect everyone!
I like models that allow everyone to have a say in everything, but in effect weight the votes of those living locally to have the most say*
But failing that, and if the key players in TRESOC are not convinced of the benefits of allowing those living further afield to contribute, I’d strongly suggest invite people who live outside Totnes and the surrounding parishes to lend money by purchasing loan stock (bonds, in effect).
* e.g. CDS CLT Model Rules have 3 classes of membership 1) living on the land 2) live locally 3) any other stakeholders, with each class getting 1/3 of the vote. Since there is likely to be more people in class 1 than 2 and more than 2 in 3, in effect those who are effected most have most say, nice). The Somerset Multistakeholder Rules allow similar stuff to be done too.
9 Sep 3:11pm
Id like to buy a share and have no say! I dont live by Totnes but I think what they are doing with this is fantastic and would like to add my drop to the effort and let the local people say what they want. Maybe they may let some of us stand behide them quietly and support the effort!
9 Sep 8:39pm
Lesley: I’m sure lots of people would!
But the way Industrial Provident Societies work is that all shareholders get an equal say (one member one vote, or one member one vote within each member class if more than one exists).
Of course, in practice lots of shareholders don’t exercise their rights, but you can’t legally have a share without also having a right to vote in AGMs etc.
At present the rules of Tresoc state:
“Membership of the society is open to all eligible persons resident within Totnes and
Environs comprising the Town of Totnes and the 15 parishes of Ashprington, Berry
Pomeroy, Cornworthy, Dartington, Dean Prior, Dipford, Halwell and Moreleigh,
Harberton and Harbertonford, Littlehempston, Marldon, North Huish, Rattery, South
Brent, Staverton and Stoke Gabriel.”
Although people are allowed to keep their shares should the move out of the area, so perhaps we should move there briefly so we can join the fun! 🙂