ALMOST £250,000 has already been invested in a project which will generate electricity from the River Esk.
The Esk Valley Community Energy Group has opened up the scheme to people who want to buy shares in the project which needs £320,000 to pay for the installation of a 50kw hydroelectric turbine in the river at Ruswarp.
Share prices range from £250 to £20,000 and following events in Whitby and Danby to pulicise the share option applications are coming in now on a daily basis.
The group has been registered as a co-operative and planning permission for the scheme has been given the go-ahead by the North York Moors National Park.
Surplus money earned from the production of electricity will fund a grant system to assist local people with the installation of solar, wind and water energy generating systems.
There are also plans for green energy educational programmes and green energy apprenticeships.
In addition, to help preserve the River Esk as an important site for salmon and sea trout a fish pass will be installed alongside the turbine.
Members from Esk Valley Energy will be at Danby and Egton shows taking place later this month to give local people the chance to ask questions about the project and apply for shares.
It is also hoped local businesses will get involved.
Colin Mather, chair of Esk Energy said: “We have been delighted with the level of support so far with many people seeing it as their opportunity to play a part in combating the greenhouse effect.
“Esk Energy has brought together community expertise in engineering, farming, architecture, planning, business, law and accounting and, over the last four years, has worked with the Environment Agency, North York Moors National Park and River Esk Action Committee to develop a scheme which will not only generate green electricity but improve the ability of salmon and sea trout to travel up-stream over the weir.”
“We believe this scheme offers a wonderful opportunity for people to do their bit to protect the environment while generating a new source of sustainable green energy.”
The closing date for applying for shares is 18 September and more details are available from www.whitbyeskenergy.org.ukor ring Colin Mather tel. 01287 669641 to ask for a copy.