Archive for October, 2014


31
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Win a £30 voucher to spend online at Ecotopia in our November Prize Draw Competition


Category: Competitions & Giveaways, Eco Gifts & Gadgets, Sustainable Living
Tags: ,


 

This November we are offering a fantastic prize of a £30 voucher to spend online at Ecotopia in the form of a unique online voucher code you can use until the end of June 2015 (although we reckon it could be used to get some great gifts in time for Christmas!).

Plus if you spend over £50 your delivery will be free too.

The competition ends at midnight UK time on 30th November and the lucky winner will be picked at random from all our e-newsletter subscribers in December 2014.

CONGRATULATIONS to last month’s competition winner LAUREN SCOTT in Leicestershire who has won a selection of Respect Organics cakes that she tells us her uni flatmates are looking forward to sharing with her (!) as well as a gorgeous ‘Cooking from the farmer’s market’ cookbook we hope she will also enjoy.

Click here to enter our prize draw >>

‘Shop Your Principles’ for great eco gifts at Ecotopia

Ecotopia is about harnessing the power of shopping, to change the world.

Their eco-friendly products range from; organic food, eco cleaning and natural bodycare, to energy saving devices, or you can choose some lovely gifts for the home and garden such as their grow your own kits and seed bombs, to a funky range of organic t-shirts and clothing for men, women and children.

Ecoptia say, “We spend our money where we have a chance to make a difference. Money makes the world go round after all… and it’s our choice which way round it goes. The things we buy can reinforce the status quo, or support a better way of doing things. Everything you’ll find in Ecotopia supports a better way of doing things – whether it’s Fairtrade, organic or sustainably sourced – there’s a social, ethical or environmental benefit inherent in everything we sell. We’re here to help you ‘Shop your Principles’”

Sounds great to us, so make sure you enter and good luck : )

Check out the online Ecotopia shop on www.ecotopia.co.uk

Click here to enter our prize draw >>



30
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Win a farmer’s market cookbook plus lots of yummy organic cakes in our October Prize Draw Competition!


Category: Competitions & Giveaways, Sustainable Farming & Food, Sustainable Living
Tags:


 

This October we are celebrating Bake With Compassion Month especially as it was World Food Day on the 16th, so we are giving away more yummy Respect Organics cakes (an assortment of organic carrot cake, chocolate cake, banana loaf and ginger crush cake) along with a gorgeous ‘Cooking from the farmer’s market’ cookbook.

The competition ends at midnight UK time on 31st October and the lucky winner will be picked at random from all our e-newsletter subscribers on 1st November 2014.

Congratulations to last month’s competition winners Denise Jenkins who won a selection of Respect Organics cakes and to Emily OMara who won a lovely fresh organic Veg Box from Goldhill Organics.

Click here to enter our prize draw >>

Cooking from the farmers market

Cooking from the farmers market by Tasha De Serio and Jodi Liano

We were inspired to get this cookbook for you after our Web Manager Anna at Compassionate Dorset / The Compassion Collective blogged about it!

Anna says, “It is packed full of recipes, mostly using fresh vegetables so plenty here for vegetarians. And of course it’s so important to support local farmers. Here in Dorchester, Dorset, we have a farmers market every Wednesday and the fruit and veg is so much cheaper and fresher you really can taste the difference and it makes you feel good. (They do a delicious rye flour sough dough bread there too which I am particularly fond of so always stock up while we are there!).”

Choose Organic and Free-Range

Currently 2 out of 3 farms worldwide are intensively factory farmed in an unsustainable way and you may be surprised to know that many farms here in the UK are factory farms, so its important to look out for local, organic and free-range food.

Eating local and seasonal food is the key. Our country is choc-full of fantastic artisan producers, and if you don’t have the time to shop around every week, why not make a visit to your local farmers market or arrange for a home delivery? Also some supermarkets are better than others at stocking regional produce.

Organic and free-range food is not only much more planet-friendly (and is kinder to animals too of course), but is also better for your health and tastes much nicer too. Look out for Soil Association logo on your meat and dairy labels and avoid the Red Tractor logo if you are concerned about animal welfare. Eating less meat is also a good idea – it is better to spend a little more money on quality food, and just eat it a little less often – vegetables and pulses are much cheaper than meat too.

Or Grow Your Own!

Growing your own vegetables in a veggie patch or in pots can be great fun and extremely satisfying! If you don’t have your own garden or enough room to grow anything, or if you do but aren’t green-fingered yourself, there are Landshare schemes where garden owners who have an unused corner of their garden allow local gardeners to come in and treat it as if it were their own garden. Garden owner benefits include the chance to link with other Gardenshare Owners and the pleasure of seeing a developing vegetable plot emerging. (Or maybe they are number hundred-and-something on the allotments waiting list and are getting a bit hungry!).

Any why not raise your own free-range chickens in your garden and enjoy fresh eggs every day?! The British Hen Welfare Trust rehomes thousands of commercial laying hens destined for slaughter that deserve loving homes (they make great pets too!) and they still lay enough lovely fresh eggs for you and your family.

Check out our Sustainable Living section for lots more information and tips on buying more sustainable food and products.

Click here to enter our prize draw >>



29
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
A word on Intermittency


Category: Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


A word on Intermittency

Those opposed to renewable`s talk about the energy grid as if it would gallop along smoothly using nuclear and fossil fuels all operating at 100% capacity factor with no need for excess capacity or spinning reserves if it weren’t for those pesky wind mills! Now intermittency and the inability to turn up wind power and some other renewable`s (hydro and biomass for example are what we call dispatchable) is an issue but it isn’t anywhere like the issue that the antis make out. Recently Wind set new generation records and so I went on to the gridwatch site and managed to download a week’s worth of figures for wind and some of the important fossil fuels. Here they are:

griddatagrph

So what does this tell us?

  • During the week covered wind did indeed set new records providing more than 5GW pretty much continuously through Saturday and Sunday.
  • There is a marked difference between the wind output during Wed-Friday and that over the weekend and into Monday but the variation within those extended periods is relatively minor and the ramp between them is not especially steep.
  • The Demand curve shows massive changes with huge ramp rates.
  • CCGT is dealing with the changes in demand by changing its output very rapidly and coal is also being made to contribute some balancing changes.
  • OCGT is hardly used at all only coming into use briefly during the Thursday am peak (Just below 500 on the X axis).

What does this mean?

  • Wind is not adding to the problems of peaking and balancing in a significant way. This is dominated by the behaviour of the demand curve.
  • Assuming reasonably accurate 24 hour weather forecasting the output of wind should be predictable to a good level of accuracy sufficiently far in advance to schedule fossil fuel plants to be off-line and therefore genuinely reduce CO2 output. As the size of the wind fleet grows the variation in wind output decreases as the averaging effect of a numerically large fleet spread across the country kicks in – wind never just instantaneously disappears. Minor variations in wind output will be easily accommodated in the balancing flexibility of CCGT already needed to account for variation in demand.
  • Wasteful OCGT is not being used in large quantities undermining wind carbon savings.
  • The curves for CCGT and coal have been effectively lowered by the presence of wind without increasing the ramp rates that they have to follow. This means that a genuine saving in CO2 emissions is the result.


28
OCT

Jacob Windsor says:
Why LED bulbs are a bright idea


Category: Eco Gifts & Gadgets, Energy Efficiency
Tags:


eco-led-bulbs

Would you like to save money and improve the environment?

Now that the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in it’s time to think about how we can use electricity more efficiently – so switching to LED bulbs makes real sense.

Save energy with LEDs

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient and eco friendly way to light your home. All LEDs from the Ecotopia shop come in the same shapes and sizes as conventional light bulbs and last for up to 22 years.

We worked out that you could possibly save over £120 by switching one halogen spotlight for an LED equivalent over the course of its lifetime.

Ecotricity are offering you some of the most competitively priced LEDs on the market, and we have over 90 lines for you to choose from :-)

FREE LED torch with every LED bulb order at Ecotopia!

eco-led-torch

Plus, as a gift to you, we’re giving away a FREE LED torch with every LED bulb order, while stocks last!

Go shopping at Ecotopia now >>



28
OCT

Anna Celeste Watson says:
If you watch 1 film to save the planet – watch “COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret”


Category: Climate Change, Energy Events in Dorset, Sustainable Farming & Food, Sustainable Living
Tags:


Cowspiracy-dorset-poster

Saturday 8th November 2014 will see the new controversial, emotive and highly talked about environmental film “Cowspiracy” come to West Stafford Village Hall near Dorchester in Dorset for a special screening (and the DORSET PREMIERE!) of the US documentary that seems to be gripping the world with its teeth!

“COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret” is a groundbreaking feature-length documentary, which follows an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to discuss it.

It is described as a shocking yet humorous film which reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet, as the leading cause of global warming, water depletion, deforestation, species extinction, and ocean ‘dead zones’.

The film is being heralded as eye-opening as “Blackfish” and as inspiring as “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Louie Psihoyos, Oscar-Winning Director of “The Cove” has said that, “Cowspiracy may be the most important film made to inspire saving the planet.”

The voluntary animal welfare group that I run called Compassionate Dorset, who are based in Dorchester but active across the county (as well as having our creative online shop), have been granted special permission by the filmmakers to have this fundraising film night in aid of the leading farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming. The charity was founded by a concerned dairy farmer in 1967, who became appalled by the growth of intensive farming and the disconnect between modern agriculture and the well-being of animals and the environment. Compassion in World Farming are the only major charity who campaign solely on advancing farm animal welfare, and their mission is to end factory farming in our lifetime, for good.

Anya Pearson, our Spokesperson for Compassionate Dorset, says, “Following the success of our Moo Man Film Night in aid of Compassion last year, we are really thrilled to be screening another brand new thought-provoking farming / food / environmental film. We are particularly excited as this is one of only a very small handful of UK screenings so far confirmed.”

The film night will once again be held in the beautiful and intimate surroundings of West Stafford Village Hall where there will be a fully licensed bar with hot drinks and snacks including vegan-friendly cakes, farm animal and cow themed t-shirts, prints and accessories for sale, and a raffle with lots of fantastic prizes.

I haven’t seen the film myself yet as it only premiered in the UK last month, but from the reviews I have read it sounds like it will give everyone, whether a meat-eater, Meatless Monday supporter, vegetarian or vegan, a lot to think about in terms of how our everyday food choices impact the sustainability of our planet, which is a huge part of what Compassionate Dorset is all about.

It also seems rather apt that we have another cow themed film, as not only will we be celebrating ‘Moovember’ but our group will also be celebrating our 5th birthday, so it should be a very special night.

Booking Advised!

Doors open at 7pm and everyone is welcome. Tickets are available on the night on the door, adults £3.00 and children under 16 go free but booking is advised at there is only a limited number of seats available and last year for our “Moo Man” film screening we ended up as standing room only!

For more information and to book online visit: www.compassionatedorset.co.uk/cowspiracy-charity-film-screening-dorset-uk.htm

We look forward to seeing you there : )

To find another UK screening near you go to www.cowspiracy.com



27
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
Climate Change Deniers


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Fuel Poverty & Security, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Climate Change Deniers

So right wingers are calling for us to ditch the Climate Change Act entirely and to stop making progress on decarbonisation unless it is matched by other countries. Sounds good? Sounds reasonable? Well No and No in my opinion.

It’s easy to say let’s not bother, let’s just go for the cheapest quickest option and to hell with the longer term consequences but sticking our heads in the sand won’t make those consequences go away. All these arguments hinge on what is likely to happen regarding Climate Change. We are all sceptical about individual scientific results after so many false scare stories about food or vaccinations etc etc but there is something different about the work of the IPCC. It doesn’t just look at one set of data from one scientist it has been looking at thousands of sets of data from huge numbers of scientists on all sides of the debate and has been returning to the data at regular intervals to incorporate new findings. This iterative process means that it rules out the occasional rogue set of results or biased experimentation. We can rely on the trends that the IPCC reports regarding the likely outcomes.

What the IPCC is saying is that scientists are more and more certain that the effects of Climate Change are real, dangerous and being initiated by human actions that we are in a position to modify and that we should be doing so. Climate Change deniers are on a par with believers in a flat Earth. They just refuse to accept anything that isn’t immediately obvious from their exceptionally limited vantage point or that upsets their preconceived assumptions. They grasp desperately at any individual piece of work that casts the tiniest doubt on the consensus opinion like the measurements that show that the recorded temperature figures over the last 15 years or so haven’t risen appreciably. They ignore all the other data such as the diminishing ice levels in the polar regions, the increasing occurrence of severe or extreme weather conditions, the changing pattern of the jet stream or the changing behaviour of flora and fauna in response to the changes in the timings of season changes. They ignore any logical explanation of their pet data that might still be compatible with the consensus view such as the suggestion that the oceans are acting as more of a buffer to temperature rise than we expected which, whilst it buys us some time to make the changes we need, does not mean that Climate Change and global warming do not exist.

The right wing economists suggesting that we do away with the Climate Change Act are like people who would rather burn all the furniture in their house than go out and chop some firewood in the yard. It’s certainly easier in the short term but doesn’t make much sense when you want to be able to sit down or go to bed in the future or need to pay for replacements for all the stuff you have ruined.

Is it reasonable to say that we shouldn’t do anything until we can get everyone else to agree? I think not for two main reasons. Firstly it is a false claim by the Climate Change deniers that the likes of India, China and the US are doing nothing. They are making significant efforts with renewable energy and new technologies and we actually need to try harder to keep up if we are to remain a country that makes much of its wealth by technical innovation. Secondly it is true China and India are also increasing their use of non-sustainable technologies but only because their per capita wealth and consumption is so much less than ours and they would like a richer and more affluent population. We cannot reasonably say that we will not lead the way on sustainable technologies unless we first get our per capita carbon footprint down to the level of India or China’s which I would suggest we need to do by advancing sustainable tech not by making ourselves poor.

The other thing that is being said is that we need to ditch the Act and reject renewable`s because “The lights might go out!” Well firstly I would argue that it is the anti-renewable campaigns that are stopping us building the scale and quantity of renewable capacity that is the problem here and a quick temporary fix through some dash for gas is not the answer. Secondly there is this unwritten assumption that the lights going out is the end of the world. If there were to be some limited phased outages during the 8pm winter peaks of demand during a couple of winters over the next few years would this really matter so much that we need to tear up our plans for long term improvements in favour of short term measures that will push us ever closer to real catastrophe? So you miss your favourate soap on broadcast TV and have to go to bed early. Hospitals and other vital services now have much better stand by generation due in part to the green incentives favouring CHP plants and old people’s homes are better insulated than they were due to the ECO schemes so a couple of hours without power won’t see the temperature drop excessively and you can always watch the program on your computer tomorrow. It is only the politicians who have made this an election losing issue who might suffer particularly if this were to happen. Lastly what are they suggesting doing that could come on line before these suggested outages in 2016-2020? About all we could do is build a few OCGT power plants of the sort that the anti-renewable lobby say are undoing any good that wind turbines do do because of the intermittency of wind. If we want to do something now we should be pushing ahead with the energy saving side of the “green crap” to keep demand down to the levels we can reach and keep building the sustainable low carbon capacity that we will need in the next decade as we reach the 2020 targets and progress beyond them toward true sustainability.

A relevant and interesting article can be found here: http://www.scoop.it/t/climate-change-science-risk-economics-sustainability


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Anna has a point but unfortunately the news today is full of further calls by Owen Paterson to ditch the Climate Change Act because the National Grid is mildy concerned that there may be power cuts this winter. Ironically the final straws have been the ongoing problems with several of the nuclear power stations and the fire at Didcot gas powered station. Its hard to see what the logic is as no large scale centralized plant can be built between now and Jan 15 unless it is already under construction. There might be some fossil fuel capacity being underused but using it isn’t illegal it just means buying out a larger proportion of the ROCs so there is no need to scrap the Climate Change Act to get a short term fix like that. There might be time to build a bit more dispersed capacity which gives us a choice of fast tracking some solar and wind or building a few inefficient Open Cycle Gas units or internal combustion gas units both of which would be very polluting, expensive to run and would in all likelihood commit us to widespread fracking if we intend to use them as anything but a few months stopgap. There are people who are only interested in the easiest way to make more money. To some degree we all feel that way and that is why the cliche “Its the Economy Stupid” entered common usage. Short term the cheapest way of dealing with the problems we face are probably the dirtiest. This is why the question of climate change does matter. It is the reason why it is worth paying more for rapid decarbonisation now because it will save us much higher costs and loads of suffering in the future. The big tobacco firms spent ages casting doubt on the links between smoking and cancer and telling young smokers why give up something you enjoy now just because there might be a risk many years in the future and we cannot even be certain that there is a risk. They manipulated and bent the science until it was no sort of truth all in the name of profits. Climate Change deniers are doing the same thing now and they have the added advantage that many of the people with power and influence probably won’t live to see the worst results of climate change. "
    October 28, 2014 a 9:19 am

  • Anna Celeste comments:
    "In a way I personally feel that it almost doesn’t matter whether people believe in climate change or not, or disagree about whether it is a natural phenomena or man-made or a bit of both – what matters is that we should all have the common sense to realise either way, we simply can not go on exhausting our planet of its natural resources like we are currently doing, there will be nothing left very soon, and we have to work in balance with nature which means harnessing energy sustainably i.e., from renewable energy sources – IF we cherish the earth, its animals, our people and the future of our own children and family that is. I think that is what matters and that it is worth fighting for : ) "
    October 27, 2014 a 2:30 pm


24
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
Challenge Navitus – the movie


Category: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


Challenge Navitus – the movie

I thought I would have a look at the Challenge Navitus site today and noticed that they have some animations of views from various places of the proposed offshore wind farm Navitus Bay http://www.challengenavitus.org.uk/windfarm-animations.html . Now I have been telling people that the view of the farm would merely be one of a collection of sticks on the horizon with the blades practically invisible and that even those sticks would be invisible in any but ideal viewing conditions.

I expected the Challenge Navitus site to be trying to scare people with distorted views etc but what did I see – EXACTLY what I have been telling people – a collection of sticks on the horizon so far off shore that even the slightest sea mist would obscure them entirely! Yet this will ruin the Jurassic Coast and cost Bournemouth £100M in lost annual revenue according to the antis.

When you consider the huge amount of low carbon electricity that the farm will generate, the short term boost to the economy of the area from the building work and the long term presence of jobs in maintenance and operation tasks, I cannot see that this is anything but a no brainer. Put them another 5km off shore say the antis so that they disappear entirely. It is true that they are so far offshore that they are almost invisible but another 5km means deeper water, longer cables, more loss of energy, longer round trips for maintenance boats and generally significantly more expensive electricity.

The cost of offshore wind and the dangers faced by those working on it are the two most important issues with this otherwise great form of energy and these would be made more of an issue by abandoning this optimized choice of site just because, if you look very carefully you can see a few sticks on the horizon whilst you sit on the beach. This is the purest form of selfish, whingeing NIMBYism I think I have ever come across.

There is nothing wrong with the views that Challenge Navitus present. It won’t ruin anyone’s holiday unlike the increasing and already fatal collapses of the Jurassic  Coast linked to the extreme weather conditions we have seen over the last few years and, whilst one or two extremes cannot be conclusively linked to Global Warming, the pattern of recurring extreme events has long since passed the point where we have to accept that the “normal” climate is changing.

The biggest threat to the tourist industry besides justifiable worries about collapsing cliffs and disappearing footpaths is the negative propaganda by those telling people that holidays in Dorset will be ruined by something as trivial as the views of Navitus as shown in the animations. It doesn’t say much for what Dorset has to offer if Navitus could have a serious detrimental effect. It suggests that sitting zombie-like on the beach staring obsessively out to sea (presumably wishing you were somewhere else – anywhere else) is what holidays in Dorset are all about! Dorset has so much more to offer than this and much of what it does offer is based on the sort of fragile ecosystems and geology that will be badly effected by climate change.

Dorset should be offering eco-friendly holidays powered by clean electricity generated in and around Dorset not forming the King Canute Re-enactment Society!


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "The Daily Echo recently ran a piece http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/yoursay/letterstotheeditor/11547376.Navitus_opposition_seems_to_be_missing_the_point/ in which a writer says that discussions of the visual impact of Navitus are missing the point and what matters is the need for “100% guaranteed electricity supply” implying that a this is impossible with wind power in the mix and b it is possible without wind. No system offers a 100% guarantee. The anti-renewables lobby try to make out that the combined behaviour of thousands of wind turbines and millions of PV panels not to mention dozens of large hydro plants and hundreds of micro hydro schemes is the same a a single wind turbine. Combined they become much more predictable. Their combined variability is much less than that seen in the demand curve and even that produced by failures in large centralised plant as recently seen in both nuclear shut downs and the fire at a large gas powered generator. The antis then make out that back up for renewables must be provided by fossil fuels and imply that no back up is needed for fossil fuels or nuclear. Storage and the manufacture of synthetic fuels and hydrogen using excess renewable capacity at times of low demand, which can be used in the same sort of CCGT gas plant that is used with natural gas, can provide back up and balancing meaning that carbon neutral renewables can be the back up for renewables. If we go down a route dominated by massive nuclear plants we have to provide enough back up to cope with several of them going offline at the same time. Recent history has shown us that the volatility of the gas price leads to wasted effort as a dash for gas means lots of gas plant being built that may then be mothballed because of a rise in the price of gas. Renewables do generate issues but so do all forms of generation and looked at fairly, including issues such as climate change, pollution, nuclear terrorism etc etc renewables deserve to be technologies of choice for this new century. "
    October 27, 2014 a 10:10 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "I really like this, the shots that confirm how unobtrusive Wind Turbines are when properly sited……its amazing how beautiful they can look.
    Plus the idea of attracting tourist is a reality in my view rather than being offset people generally will take very little real notice but when prompted say how wonderful they are. "

    October 26, 2014 a 2:33 pm


23
OCT

Holly Barber says:
Be Part of The Simon King Wildlife Project


Category: Sustainable Farming & Food, Sustainable Living, Wildlife & Nature
Tags: ,


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I am new to the Lets Get Energized Blog, so allow me to introduce myself…
I am the Commercial Manager for Simon King Wildlife. Our aim is to help you make the most of your time with the natural world which is why we set up The Simon King Wildlife Project charity…

We need the natural world for our own survival. The inexorable and rapid rise in human populations and our insatiable appetite for resources has become an unsustainable drain on the life support systems upon which we all depend. This is reflected in many global crises, but can be witnessed close to home in the catastrophic loss of wildlife and wild places.

The Simon King Wildlife Project was born of a desire to turn the tide against the loss of natural habitats and begin a movement to reclaim land for the natural world.

The Simon King Wildlife Project founder – naturalist, broadcaster and author Simon King OBE – took the first positive step on this journey in 2010, when he bought a 10 acre plot of overworked pastureland in Somerset and set about converting it into a haven for wildlife. In four short years the changes have been miraculous, with the variety and volume of wild creatures and wild plants and flowers on the land increasing enormously. This success story convinced Simon that landscape scale projects of a similar nature were possible, and The Simon King Wildlife Project was born.

But this project is as much about people as it is about wildlife.

As an internationally respected producer, cameraman and presenter of wildlife films (Planet Earth, Life, Springwatch etc), Simon also realised that the key to successfully halting the global degradation of the natural world was in people learning about, engaging with, and caring for wild creatures and wild places. It was with this in mind that Simon installed a live camera network within his 10 acre plot, known as Wild Meadows, so that the secret lives of the wild creatures that moved in to the land could be seen and shared by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

And it has worked.

In its first year of streaming live on the internet, SimonKingWildlife.com has received over 2 million page views and attracts a loyal audience in excess of 150,000 people.

This is just the beginning. We know we can change the land. We know we can reach the people. But we want to do more.

We want to acquire new sites that have suffered through intensive land use or urban encroachment, and return them to a state fit to support life in all its rich forms. We want to connect these places to everyone, using on-site field centres, live camera networks and online education facilities and resources to learn about, and enjoy, the benefits of a harmonious existence with wildlife.

To achieve these goals, we need your help.

We need your support to maintain the online project as it stands, and with your support we can expand this vision to new areas, converting degraded land into wild spaces that once again breathe life and hope back into our planet.

We need to develop a fund that can be used to acquire land that currently has little value for the wild world and apply the ‘Wild Meadows’ model of restoration to it. To ensure the project has a sustainable future we intend to introduce field study centres and low impact accommodation to key locations to give people, young and old, the chance to learn about, and immerse themselves in, the natural riches that will again begin to flourish in these new wild spaces.

SKWP-Badger-Cam

With your help, we can make a difference.

For more information about The Simon King Wildlife Project and for details of how you could support us – please visit our website at SimonKingWildlife.com.



22
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Dorset Energized expand to become Lets Get Energized for Big Energy Saving Week


Category: Dorset Energized News, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Living
Tags:


This week 20th to 24th October 2014 people across Dorset and the UK are celebrating Big Energy Saving Week.

Energy bills are reported to be the top financial concern for households, so Big Energy Saving Week highlights positive, practical actions that will help homeowners take control of bills and save energy.

This week we are also very excited to announce that we have expanded our online green energy portal to be UK wide with a new name of Lets Get Energized…

letsgetenergized-team-dorset-web2

Photo: The group announced their expansion news to the Dorset Sustainable Community Energy Group at a meeting at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester on Tuesday 21st October

Lets Get Energized

Dorset Energized was initially founded by a small group of renewable energy enthusiasts who first met in 2011 at a meeting of the Dorset Energy Partnership’s Community Sustainable Energy Working Group who launched this website on the simple premise that everyone in Dorset, as individuals, households, businesses and communities, need to invest in renewable energy today and reduce our energy demand by becoming more energy efficient and sustainable.

It is very important to work at a local level when it comes to community energy generation, but since we launched our website in 2011 we have realised that much of the information here is relevant for all UK home owners and tenants, so this October we have expanded to become Lets Get Energized.

We hope to improve our site even further over the coming year and welcome your feedback and hope you will continue on the journey with us. You can also still meet our team at local events under the banner of Dorset Energized.

Vince Adams, Co-founder and Spokesperson for Dorset Energized / Lets Get Energized, says, “Dorset is a very beautiful county and contains such fabulous areas of outstanding natural beauty, supporting high biodiversity and many rare species. Living here helps us to understand how much more we need to work together with nature, rather than against it, to meet our local and UK renewable energy targets. Our aim is to continue to provide impartial advice and information, in a friendly format, and to support people connecting with renewable energy. We will continue to take part in local events and energy roadshows under Dorset Energized and we will always be very proud that it all started here in Dorset!”

Supporting The Simon King Wildlife Project

We are also very excited to welcome new blogger Holly Barber from The Simon King Wildlife Project who will be posting later this week. We want to continue to engage and enhance the fulfilment of everyone, to help reduce family’s energy costs today, whilst protecting the landscape, wildlife and the planet we all live on for future generations.

If you do 1 thing today: Switch to a green energy supplier

Lets Get Energized will continue to be an independent not-for-profit organisation and over the past year, the group has successfully teamed up with ethical energy companies including the UK’s only 100% renewable energy suppliers Good Energy and Ecotricity, both based in the South West, to offer UK wide users, special deals and incentives.

The key message is that if there is one thing we can all to today, whether we are renting or homeowners, single or with a large family, is to switch to a green energy supplier.

Many green energy tariffs are now also competitive in price to “the big six” and both Ecotricity and Good Energy have rapidly grown their customer base over the past year and continue to be rated top on Which? Customer satisfactions surveys. Ecotricty are also committed to investing in the UK’s Electric Highway while Good Energy are investing in several solar farm projects including here in Dorset.

Save Energy for Big Energy Saving Week

For Big Energy Saving Week, we are also asking that you use less energy at home by taking just one simple step, such as:

  • Turning your room heating thermostat down by just 1 degree – which could save you around £65 per year and 260kg of carbon.
  • Insulating your loft to massively reduce the heat loss from your home - it may seem a bit boring, but homeowners could save £200 per year if they insulated.

There are lots more energy saving tips under our Energy Efficiency pages.

We would also like to hear local stories from throughout the UK, and what one thing you pledge to do this week to save energy (just send your Comments below!).

Anna Celeste Watson, Web Designer and Manager, says, “It has been fantastic to get such positive feedback about the website over the last 3 years with people saying they love its colourful eye-catching design and illustrations, and that they often visit the site to find out anything to do with renewable energy and keep up to date with the latest energy news. What we would love now is for more people to send in their stories and comments via the blog about using solar energy, renewable heat, electric cars and their energy saving and sustainable living tips so we can build more of an online community to inspire everyone to engage with the wonderful world of sustainable energy and show how it really makes you feel energized!”

So, what are you waiting for? Its time to get energized and join the renewable energy revolution!
Start now and explore your energy options here.



09
OCT

Guest Energizer says:
Mind the Gap: How the London Underground Will Help Heat Houses


Category: Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Renewable Heat Energy
Tags: , , , , ,


New and innovative ways of saving energy are constantly being thought up as we attempt to reduce our carbon footprints and live more eco-friendly lifestyles. Solar power and wind power are becoming more prevalent, but some more unusual ways to generate power are making headlines. One of these is the use of waste heat from the London Underground to heat homes.

A New Way to Harvest Heat

The project was announced in 2013 by Islington Council (here), which joined forces with the mayor of London, Transport for London and UK Power Networks. The plan is for heat to be captured from a ventilation shaft on the Northern Line, as well as a substation that is run by UK Power Networks, which will then be used to heat buildings in the area.

The senior advisor to the mayor of London, Matthew Pencharz, said that it was important to do everything possible to support energy that is sourced locally to reduce carbon emissions and bills. It is also hoped that this kind of project will create more jobs in the sector.

The council has applied for £1 million in grant funding from the European Commission, and it will also provide funding itself. It is the first such project in Europe, and it is hoped that it will allow 500 more homes be connected to the heat network in Islington.

A New Focus on Innovative Energy

This scheme is one of the most innovative energy producing schemes announced so far, and it will help many households to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions by using energy that would otherwise be wasted.

But there are many other schemes that are also being introduced that are changing the way we produce and use energy. One of these is the Pavegen system, which is a way of creating energy from paving slabs as people walk over them. This was displayed during the London Olympics, and although it will probably not go mainstream in the near future, it shows what is possible.
Other innovations are on a smaller scale, like the Nest Learning Thermostat. This new smart thermostat, which is now being installed for free by npower.com (here) on its Intelligent Fix tariff, programmes itself, turns itself down when no one is home, adapts to your lifestyle and can be controlled by a smartphone.

Of course, there are other standard things you can do in your home, such as installing insulation, double-glazing windows and solar panels, or simply being more careful about turning devices off when you leave the room.

Look Out for More Innovative Ways to Save Energy

The London Underground project shows the way forward for innovative ways to capture energy and reduce wastage. Over time, we are likely to see an increasing number of such schemes arise as we look for ways to reduce waste. However, don’t forget that you can also do your bit to reduce energy in the home through taking simple steps like installing insulation or making use of new technology like smart thermostats. And by making small steps, we can all collectively help to make a huge difference.

This is a post by Guest Energizer Emily Whittaker who has a great enthusiasm for energy research. With an eye for creative solutions and emerging technology, she loves blogging about the ideas and innovations for a more efficient energy future.



08
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
How Many Is Enough?


Category: Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


How Many Is Enough?

This article appeared in the Daily Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/11125908/Thousand-more-wind-turbines-than-UK-needs.html.

And here is a response:

Where do you start? It is total nonsense!

What is worse is some of the total C**P in the comments after the article.

The first point is that, on current planning application process times, all they are saying is that wind power might reach its share of the 2020 target in time although this actually seems unlikely as some applications take as much as 10 years to reach fruition. I suspect that other forms of renewables will be way behind target given the slower than expected technological development in things like wave power and the persistently high LCOE figures for offshore renewables and nuclear (far higher than the relatively low cost of onshore wind) which are likely to make it difficult to have such technologies take up their projected share of the burden without causing unsustainable price rises for the consumer.

Secondly, and I keep stressing this and suggest that everyone else does so too, 2020 is not the end of the process! David Cameron himself recently stressed the importance of the 2050 target for 80% decarbonisation which is the only one that actually makes a difference when we consider the risks of run away climate change because the 2020 target of 15%, if it is achieved and then no more progress is made, will merely mildly delay the point at which we reach a significant tipping point and the driving force of climate change stops being human activity directly and starts being more related to factors such as the lack of albedo effect once the ice caps have gone or the mass evolution of methane from the oceans and melting tundra.

If, and it is still a big if, we can build a bit more onshore wind than the 2020 targets suggest now it is a good thing in that it helps us have a better chance of making the 2050 target. In the comments following the article we get the same old rubbish about wind farms being too intermittent, they don’t save any carbon emissions because fossil fuel capacity is on spinning reserve, its all about subsidies for greedy land owners and developers. All of these are just lies. The variation in demand is far greater than the variation in wind power so the need for spinning reserves is going to be there regardless of whether we have wind power or not. Much of the reason why peaking and balancing generation (the spinning reserves) is so less efficient than baseload generation is because much of our peaking and balancing currently comes from low efficiency open cycle gas turbines (OCGT`s). This need not be the case in the future. Pumped hydro and electrochemical storage technologies both have the response characteristics to perform peaking and balancing. Efficient new generation combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant is also much quicker to react than the older CCGT and they could be run more and more on Anaerobic Digester gas and hydrogen derived from surplus wind or other renewables.

We need to get rid of the out of date OCGT technology not the wind turbines! Even with the old OCGTs causing minor issues the effect of renewables in general and wind in particular is now proven in the National Grid and DECC figures that show reductions in coal consumption and consequent CO2 reductions clearly linked to renewable generation so the positive effect of renewables isn’t even a theoretical effect in the future, it is already making a significant contribution despite the relatively low share of overall capacity – lesson learned build more of what is working not less!

I heard an article on the radio recently that was very interesting. I have thought for some time that we are in the same position regarding climate change and renewable energy that we were in regarding lung cancer and smoking in the 1970s and 80s in that people with scientific knowledge (I won’t call them scientists because their lack of respect for scientific truth debars them from that title in my opinion) are being employed by those with huge financial interests in stopping the development of renewables to generate spurious but believable “evidence” against renewables. The radio piece I heard actually suggested that not only were the big fossil fuel firms using the same tactics as the tobacco firms they were actually employing the same people!


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "The new EU targets that the Govt has agreed may or may not be good news as far as reaching the ultimate targets of full decarbonisation but they certainly require a near doubling of the renewable energy contribution between 2020 and 2030. Given that the amount of renewables we will have by 2020 will have been put in place over several decades this will mean a scaling up of the rate of delivery of renewables. This means that any suggestions that we have enough are just stupid. "
    October 24, 2014 a 12:19 pm

  • vince adams comments:
    "Well said now lets move on and focus on how to maintain, strengthen and ultimately turn our energy supply into 80% renewable by 2030
    Cancel Hinkley Nuclear Power and make the possible Possible "

    October 8, 2014 a 6:06 pm


06
OCT

Simon Jonathan Naish Rayson says:
Dorset Energized at the Eden Holistic Fair


Category: Electric Transport, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , ,


Eden Holistic Fair

On Saturday just gone (4th October) Dorset Energized along with our friends from Cyclelife Wessex attended the Holistic Fair, organised by Primrose Matheson of Primrose`s Kitchen, at Eden Park, Buckland Newton, Dorset – and what an enjoyable, and well organised event it was.

View from Eden Park

View from Eden Park

Holistic being a description of how all things are interconnected there were a wide variety of exhibitors at the Fair. People offering meditation and retreat, technology to prevent harm from electro-magnetic radiation, herbal remedies and massages, organic vegetables, scented soaps and essential oils (wonderful aroma`s from that stall), Compassion toward animals (our friends Compassionate Dorset), organic hot food, Homeopathy, organic Tea, and of course Primrose Kitchen`s naturopathic mueslis and food supplements. And not to forget Teatonics who came to the rescue with some of their lovely and remarkably restorative Yerba Mate tea when I arrived somewhat damp from the cycle ride there in the rain.

Ourselves from Dorset Energized and Cyclelife Wessex were of course there to talk renewable energy and all things environmental and to demonstrate the fun and practicality of riding electric bikes. Our side of the Holistic “coin”, being that (and this is my own take on it) the Earth, this planet, also has a mind, a body and indeed a spirit – and being friends with the Earth (in all it`s aspects) is essential and actually makes you feel good as well. After all if we neglect the Earth and do not treat it as our Friend then we alienate ourselves and in practical terms endanger our own long term survival. Which of course is the whole point of Wholism and being Holistic (it`s all connected . . . .).

So during the day Jeremy Molger – from Cyclelife Wessex – gave a number of people the opportunity to ride an Ebike and without exception everyone who took a test ride came back full of enthusiasm – that`s the effect they have, though you have to try one to know.  Indeed our very own resident Illustrator Stu Jones (who shot the photos here) took an e-bike for a test run around the beautiful rolling countryside that the new Eden Business Park is surrounded by, and said it was brilliant and that he was really surprised how well it worked and how easy it was to use and to go up hills! Meanwhile myself, Vince Adams and Keith Wheaton-Green talked a lot about Ebikes – and other things renewable, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and made new friends. It was a good day – and eventually the sun came out, which at the end of proceedings made my and Keith`s cycle ride to our respective homes that much more enjoyable.

Vince & Simon & Ebike

Vince & Simon & Ebike

Vince and Jeremy and Ebikes

Vince and Jeremy and Ebikes

 

 



03
OCT

Guest Energizer says:
Making Space for Nature


Category: Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
Tags:


Making Space for Nature

Lin`s Garden

Lin`s Garden

It’s that time of year again …..  so tempting to get cracking in the garden and tidy everything up.   I thought I would cut the long grass outside our driveway –

Lin`s Garden

Lin`s Garden

Fortunately with shears not strimmer  – as I raked up the ”hay” a tiny Slowworm – golden and quite beautiful – riggled back into the grasses.   I had disturbed its warm bed but not for long thank goodness.

Lin`s Garden

Lin`s Garden

I’ve dead headed the roses and cut back the Cranesbill Geraniums and Comfrey – all have new growth and the roses are blooming – beautifully.    We’ve cut the grass and edged the borders (a little bit) but the rest will take care of itself until Spring.     You have to know when to stop and smell the roses!

Lin`s Garden

Lin`s Garden

Lin Adams



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