MSc Students visit Sandford Hydro

On 17 October a group of Oxford University master’s students visited Sandford Hydro as part of their Energy Systems course. The group received a tour from Harry Orchard, our Operations and Maintenance Assistant, and were shown the inner workings of the electric hydro plant. They went inside the control room where it’s possible to see the overview of the turbines, including which are currently turning, how much power they’re generating and whether the trash screens (which prevent rubbish entering the hydro) need clearing.

They were also shown the fish pass; a system specially designed to encourage all the species in the river to travel upstream for the first time in 400 years! The hydro site has also been through rigorous ecosystem surveys to ensure it has minimal impact on the local wildlife, such as trees, shrubs, birds, bats and otters. It is also consistently being assessed and checked to ensure this high standard is maintained.

The students were given an overview of the history of the Sandford Hydro project, including how the idea was originally developed in the local community. Then it was the culmination of two community share offers that together raised the £1.4m needed for the new generator. The three 14-metre long, 22-tonne Archimedes screws were lifted into place in May 2017 and then in August 2018 the plant was commissioned, just in time for the first rain of autumn to arrive and begin generating energy.

Now, Sandford Hydro is fully operational with the capacity to produce 1.6 GWh of clean electricity a year which is enough to power 450 homes and save two tonnes of CO2 a day. This October has been particularly good for generation at Sandford, with generated energy exceeding our expectations. The hydro has generated over 130,000 kWh of energy this month - enough to make over 4 million slices of toast!

Our visitors will be able to use their trip to Sandford Hydro as a great example of community energy in action and as inspiration for what innovative renewable energy solutions can be achieved. Transitioning to a cleaner energy system requires thinking across traditional disciplinary boundaries to ensure communities are at the heart of future energy systems.


Could you be a Retrofit Coordinator?

Do you have a background in the building industry? If so, would you like to train and become a Retrofit Coordinator?

Cosy Homes Oxfordshire is a partnership project being delivered by Low Carbon Hub, RetrofitWorks and the National Energy Foundation to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes. You can read more about the project here.

As it grows the project is seeking to recruit more Retrofit Coordinators to support homeowners on their retrofit journey – from small jobs such as insulation to full-scale domestic retrofits. This is a vital role within the project as we look to provide excellent customer service to the growing number of homeowners keen to start home improvement work.

Sign up for the subsidised training course and join the Cosy Homes team.

What’s involved in being a Retrofit Coordinator?
As a Retrofit Coordinator for Cosy Homes Oxfordshire you will be producing Whole House Plans and advising our customers on planning energy efficiency measures for their homes.

You will be reviewing quotes for the measures from our trusted team of installers and overseeing the quality of the work as it is installed. You will be the first point of contact for our customers throughout the installation and will be monitoring and evaluating the installation once complete.

You will need to have several years’ experience in the building industry, including issuing contracts and tenders and you must have excellent customer service skills. This is an excellent opportunity to become involved in a growing new project to minimise the carbon footprint of homes across Oxfordshire.

How is the course delivered?
The course is delivered via a two day ‘boot camp’ (to take place on 2 and 3 December) and online learning.

There are 12 online assessments to complete. We are asking candidates to complete it in 4 months which means you will need to commit to approximately 6 hours a week study time. Once qualified we need people to be available for at least 2 days a week to work for us.

Entry requirements
If you have a minimum level 3 qualification in a built environment discipline, work experience in the building industry, plus excellent customer service skills with experience at issuing contracts and tenders, we'd love to hear from you.

The cost of the training is valued at £1440. However, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire are only asking for payment of half the cost of the course (£720). This will also be refunded once you have completed some work for the project.

When and where
The training will take place in Oxford (venue TBD) on 2 and 3 December 2019.

How to book
Please contact Rachel – to find out more about the training and to book your place. To confirm your place, you need to register by 14 November.