Archive for ‘Sustainable Living’


01
DEC

Vince Adams says:
Punch in the stomach or a wake up call to installers ??


Category: Solar Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: ,


 

What is the real purpose of drastic feed in tariff reductions?

 

Most of us expect government to govern to improve the lives of the whole population. When governments are not doing so, they must still issue statements to look as if they are. And so it was when Amber Rudd, the minister for Energy and Climate Change said in justification of a proposed dramatic reduction in renewable electricity feed in tariffs (FITs), “We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.” Whereas the reality is that our government are intent on preventing the renewables industry from competing with a new subsidised Hinckley nuclear power station, a new subsidised fracking industry and the remaining – hard to extract (and supported by recently announced generous tax breaks) – off-shore oil and gas fields. Whose interests is government protecting I wonder.

I can’t believe it is the interests of the whole UK population. Renewable electricity, once the generation equipment is installed, is almost free. Wind, sun and moving water cost nothing and the cost of equipment maintenance is minimal. Yes there is the ongoing cost of feed in tariff to encourage householders and businesses to install currently adding £45 a year to each household bill but most of the bill is fossil fuel costs. A coal or gas fired power station always pays for fuel whereas with renewables the cost of subsidy comes down to eventually reach zero. The impression is given by government ministers that FITs are coming out of government spending so allowing them to link slashing FITs to the need for austerity. Also that renewables are adding large amounts to consumer bills. Neither is true. The 3% of household energy bills that pay for the feed in tariff is actually an excellent investment in reducing future bills. The subsidy for Hinkley C ties consumers to high electricity prices for the next 30 years.

Since the introduction of the feed in tariff in 2009, renewables – particularly photovoltaics – have grown quickly to provide 22.3% of UK electricity in Q1 of 2015, 2700 installation companies and 112 thousand jobs. The proposed rapid FITs cuts of 40% for wind and hydro and 90% for PV puts the industry, those jobs and future recovery in serious jeopardy. Householders will not feel it worthwhile to install PV until prices drop by £800 for a 4 kW system (which will not happen for a few years yet). New small hydro and wind schemes will not seem worthwhile, especially given the difficulty and expense of getting planning and environmental permissions. Businesses will go to the wall and thousands will lose their jobs. Are the Conservatives the party supporting small businesses? The renewables industry is as keen as the government to get to a subsidy free future but sudden unpredictable changes are extremely damaging and unfair.

Amber Rudd has previously expressed understanding and enthusiasm for renewables and community owned renewables in particular. There is no preferential treatment for community renewables in the current proposals and it is evident that George Osborne has overruled Amber. His enthusiasm for fracking is obvious. When announcing encouragement for fracking he stated, “This new tax regime, which I want to make the most generous for shale in the world, will contribute to that. I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution – because it has the potential to create thousands of new jobs and keep energy bills low for millions of people.” But renewables have a greater capacity to deliver geographically distributed jobs, climate change mitigation and eventual lower electricity prices.

The inevitable future is a multiplicity of small widely distributed clean renewable generators with less demand on the inefficient high voltage national grid. PV will be attached to most buildings and wind turbines of all sizes will be far more common. Demand will be smoothed with battery storage and base load will be covered from tidal lagoons around our coast. Crucially, this will achieve lower prices and no carbon emissions. Given the Climate Change imperative, we should be getting there ASAP. So why on earth our government slowing this down and guaranteeing high electricity prices for longer?

 

This piece is penned by Keith Wheaton Green a supporter of renewable energy and first published in the Landsman.



24
JUN

Vince Adams says:
Growing Vegetables


Category: Climate Change, Sustainable Farming & Food, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Living
Tags: ,


At Letsgetenergized we believe that local sustainability is hugely important and in partnership with a move to renewable energy will begin to drive back climate change and protect the Planet.

As someone who finds it difficult to grow vegetables this initiative by Pam and Ken to engage and develop growing your own is excellent.

Do support them if you can!!

Dear Friends,
As Ken or I may already have mentioned to some of you, we have set up two local groups on Meetup.com which you may be interested in joining – if so, please click on the relevant link below to register as a member (free of charge) so that you can receive email updates and come along to our talks and meetups.
Our groups are: ‘Grow It Yourself Dorset’, which meets monthly on a the first Wednesday evening of the month in Blandford and may be of interest to those wanting to learn more about growing fruit and vegetables and other related topics, and the other is ‘Resurgence Dorset’, which holds monthly talks on the last Tuesday of the month at Blandford Museum and bi-monthly on a Saturday at Hilfield Friary, for those interested in green-living, social justice, animal welfare, ethical living and environmental issues etc.  Full details of these groups are on the links below:
If you are not interested, or have already joined, sorry to bother you, but please do forward this email on to anyone else in North Dorset you think might like to join either of our groups.
Many thanks,
Pam and Ken


24
JUN

Vince Adams says:
4th July is Solar Independance Day


Category: Solar Energy, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


Your chance to visit a working Solar Farm and see for yourself whats going on under the panels.

Please find attached an invitation to visit Race Solar Farm near Lytchett Matravers which will be open to the public to celebrate Solar Independence Day, on Saturday July 4th from 11 am to 3 pm.

Solar Independence Day is the UK’s annual solar celebration showcasing solar homes, solar schools, commercial solar rooftops and solar homes.
This is a great opportunity to learn more about the growing solar industry, how it works, what’s involved, as well as seeing it in action! The event is designed to raise awareness of the benefits of solar to you, your local community, and the UK as a whole, and the huge potential the technology has for safe, renewable and low carbon energy for the UK.
If you would like to attend please register via Eventbrite, if you would like any further information feel free to contact the Solar Trade Association at enquiries@solar-trade.org.uk.
Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy Solar Independence Day!
Kind regards,
Sophy Fearnley-Whittingstall
sophy@sfwcommunications.co.uk
07979 368238
@sfwcomms



20
MAY

Vince Adams says:
Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more


Category: Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,


Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more

An American friend of mine suggested I read Gaia Vince and her latest book Anthropocene a journey through our Planet. I’m normally into spy thrillers and the like so getting into something substantial like this is quite a challenge if like me you read at bedtime and the eyes close ever more quickly.

So I got started and the first chapter was all about the high villages of Nepal and the problems that they are experiencing. Pollution , lack of water, lack of education and modern technology. Frankly the sheer physicality of the lives people in Nepal are leading and their resilience was inspiring within only a few paragraphs.

Then the earthquake struck and thousands of deaths, people made homeless, lack of food and water etc etc

My adventure into Gaia’s book was warning of the dangers. If you dry out the Mountains, lose the Glaciers the earth becomes unstable. Soon the tectonic plates begin to re-act and the inevitable result is earthquakes and many of them.

Today people are living outside because daily quakes are happening and the people are afraid to go inside even if their homes have survived.

You could despair, wring your hands and send off another cheque to Oxfam or invest in a copy of Gaia’s book. It will inspire you with what individual people are doing. One man is creating Glaciers to replace the ones lost by global warming and its effects. Another group are creating internet networks almost out of tin cans. Renewable energy is being developed but they must be careful not to overuse Hydro as water is such a scarce commodity. Parallel this with Chile and its plan to destroy parts of the wilderness in Patagonia with huge hydro schemes to fuel growth thousands of miles away in its cities. This for a country that has huge seaboard boundaries that could create networks of on-shore wind turbines, tidal and wave power projects and save Patagonia.

Anyway I hope I have given you a starter for ten and a reason to buy the book.

If you want to know more from the people of Nepal whats happening on the ground take this link to:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.846010735435291.1073741904.177160615653643&type=1

Of this I shall write more very soon but here`s another thumbnail from the US.

My friend sent me the following latest report from the USA which in part is positive in part what we expect. But with knowledge and communication we can better tackle the future together.

” Although our leaders here in the US are far behind other leaders around the world there is a lot of activity. Solar installations on homes and businesses as well as major power plants are rapidly on the rise, wind farms have proven to be especially profitable and are become common in most US states and our rapid development of natural gas has at least made a dent in the coal fired power plants (I like to see the natural gas become a thing of the past as well but that seems unlikely in the near future). Unfortunately fracking for oil has been so successful that gasoline prices have dropped and Americans with very short memories have begun buying SUV’s again at a record pace. I wonder if the oil companies have offered lower gas prices because hybrids and EV’s were starting to catch hold of the public. Gas has started to rise again and will likely pass $4 a US gallon this summer. The new SUV owners will wail and complain that the President is to blame while oil companies will for the nth year in a row see record profits. So it goes”


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "We need to recognize that hydropower doesn’t use water. Its not consumptive. It merely extracts some energy as the water falls back to the sea "
    May 22, 2015 a 9:14 am


29
APR

Guest Energizer says:
Renewable Energy Marketplace 2015


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


Renewable Energy Marketplace 2015

As the Environment and Community Services Apprentice for North Dorset District Council. The Renewable Energy Marketplace 2015 provided me with an excellent opportunity to find out more about local companies as well those further afield who shared my general philosophy and interest in renewables with a view to identifying possible future employment opportunities. I was grateful to Vince Adams, co-founder of Energise Stur Valley who very kindly sponsored my attendance as well as providing transport to the event in his electric car, so minimising our impact on the environment. I was extremely fortunate that following an initial discussion, a local renewable energy company offered me a post as administrator. Although extremely flattered I indicated that I wish to complete my apprenticeship at North Dorset prior to securing further employment within the industry.

The event hosted a good range of companies including installers, facilitators and informers. At the start there was a stimulating debate between the local (to Exeter) leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and The Green Party. They took questions from attendees and there were clearly many differences in opinion. Diana Moore representing The Green Party made clear her disagreement with the views put forward by Neil Parish representing the Conservatives. The debate has not affected who I plan to vote for in the upcoming elections, although it has encouraged me to undertake further research into the finer details of each party’s policies.

The stalls were well grouped in terms of subject matter and the stall holders were all very approachable, knowledgeable and keen to promote their organisations. The arts and communities section was of particular interest and through discussion I met a fellow attendee who is considering putting on an Eco Fashion Show in Dorchester, so I may get involved in this as I enjoy textiles and fashion. There were various seminars including one on arts and energy which discussed Whitby the Musical, a performance which uses the opportunity of using musical theatre to portray a positive image of the renewable energy industry. It would be the first of its kind and a brilliant way of getting local communities on board with a renewable energy scheme and raising awareness amongst young people.

Outside the exhibition area there were several electric and hybrid cars, which in addition to my conversation with Vince travelling to and from the event, persuaded me that they offered a viable future mode of transport, particularly now that charging points are more widely available including at service stations. The choice of cars available on the current market is varied ranging from a little run-around such as the Toyota Yaris Hybrid to the larger BMW i8. Some of the cars could be test driven which was a great way to attract future customers and raising interest in them.

The Renewable Energy Bake Off was quite a success and there were some very decorative cupcakes with wind turbines, solar panels and other renewables iced on which someone had carefully crafted. The cakes were delicious and particularly welcome given there was little else on offer in terms of food at the event. Next time, I would suggest having a greater range of stalls providing local produce.

In terms of attendees it appeared only to attract those already involved in the renewables market in some way, rather than wider members of the public. I feel it would have been beneficial and more attractive to wider audiences if admission had been free rather than £18 entry plus £54 if wishing to attend a conference.

Overall the event was a success with Westpoint in Exeter buzzing with environmental enthusiasts and companies. There were many interesting organisations and individuals available and it was an ideal opportunity to network. I hope to attend again in the future.

This is a first posting to our site by Kathryn Flint



27
APR

John Olver says:
Tesla Tour of America’s Southwest


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,


Tesla Tour of America’s Southwest

Roger Manley bought his Tesla Model S about six months ago and has put quite a few miles on it since then. He and his wife and son are adding a lot more miles while touring America’s National Parks in Arizona and Utah. I’ll let Roger tell the tale.

Hi John, I’m sitting in my Tesla charging at the Buckeye supercharger. I am meeting Carolann at airport at 3 PM this afternoon. We’re staying in Scottsdale for the week. My son Brian is flying into Flagstaff next Saturday and we are driving a loop around southern Utah to see the national parks. I left yesterday and stayed Needles last night. I’ve driven seven hundred and 20 miles to the Buckeye charging station. I didn’t have to wait anywhere except for Barstow because there is a lot of traffic going to Las Vegas for some major convention. Thought I’d let you know that I’m taking the Tesla on the trip! The Tesla is working perfectly and getting the mileage that I expected based on evtripplanner.com.

The goal of this trip was to try out the Tesla on a long drive, using supercharger capability where possible and a few RV parks along the way. The first leg of the trip was driving from Monterey to Phoenix. The second leg from Phoenix through Southern Utah with stops in Monument Valley, and then four National Parks including Arches, Canyon Lands, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. I also planned the entire trip on Evtripplanner.com. This allowed me to select the route with energy usage estimates for the various charging legs. Overall, I found this tool to be fairly accurate and would recommend it highly. In addition the 6.2 release from Tesla was received the week before I left and it promised “the end of range anxiety” with its new trip planner software. However, it is a beta version currently. It worked fine until I got to the first stop and then I couldn’t get it to recognize my second planned stop at Mojave. There weren’t a lot of directions on usage so maybe it was pilot error on my part. After I finally got it to cancel, I went back to using the Energy Usage App showing the Trip Leg planned in Navigation which estimates battery usage at the finish point. I find that works really well and matches closely to Evtripplanner estimates. I’m sure the new software will get better with the next OTA release.

The first day my goal was to drive from Monterey to Needles. Initially I had planned to drive through Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but found the Coachella Music Festival was going on at that time and there wasn’t a place to sleep within a 100 miles of the Indio Supercharger. So with the Mojave Supercharger just opening I decided to go north and stay out of the traffic. My first stop was Harris Ranch in Coalinga after a beautiful drive over highway 198 from just south of King City. It was 127 miles. I used 40.4 kWh at 318 W/m with 44% battery left. I was a bit surprised that I used 144 rated miles. But, I figured out it was 46 degrees that morning which probably increased energy usage slightly.

Harris Ranch is a huge beef “CAFO” with restaurant and Inn. There were 8 superchargers and space when I arrived, but within a few minutes all were full. Most of the time I was charging at 87 to 120 amps. I believe this is one of the original superchargers and isn’t as fast as the new ones which are much more powerful. Next stop was the Mojave Supercharger. Actual mileage was 164 and rate miles used was 185. I used 51.5 kWh at 315 W/m. Arrived at Mojave with 57 rated miles left. The rated miles are higher on this leg because of the approximate 3000 foot climb up the mountains out of Bakersfield. The Mojave Supercharger is brand new and charges very fast. It is located in a small shopping center next to a cafe that serves Mexican food, a grocery store, and a few other various shops. Third stop of the day was in Barstow, only 73 miles from Mojave, but I wanted to top off for the longer drive to Needles. Barstow was very busy on this Friday afternoon. All eight superchargers were full and I had to wait about 10 minutes for an open stall. Barstow is a huge freeway crossroads with lots of traffic from L.A. to Las Vegas. Apparently there were some big conventions in Vegas that weekend. There were several new P85D’s there and that was the first time I had seen one. The Barstow Supercharger has a solar platform over 4 of the charging stalls that also provides shade. I used 76 rated miles, 20.7 kWh at 284 W/m.

I left Barstow and set out to Needles, my last stop of the day. I arrived around 6:15 pm after starting the day at 7am. The last leg was 149 miles and I used 152 rated miles. I used 43 kWh at 288 W/mile. I arrived at Needles with 35% battery left. Needles has 4 superchargers at a Shell station and I was the only one charging there. It was right next to the Rio Del Sol Motel where I stayed that night. Total mileage that day was 515 miles. I made 3 charging stops that day which added about 2 hours and 45 minutes. I actually enjoyed having an hour off every couple hours so I could eat or stretch. I charged in Needles for about 45 minutes that evening. One other note, the first leg of the drive was cool under 50 degrees so I had the air conditioning off and just used the fan. The rest of the day had warmed up, mostly high 70’s to low 80’s and I used the air conditioner the whole way and still achieved the efficiencies as listed above. I was pretty happy that the EPA numbers for the car were pretty accurate and Evtripplanner was a great tool.

The next morning I was and on the road to Phoenix via the Quartzsite and Buckeye supercharger stops. The first leg to Quartzsite was straight south from Needles about 100 miles. I saw about 4 cars the entire way and desert landscape was beautiful. Arrived in Quartzsite at 8:30am after driving 105 miles. I used 110 rated miles, 32.1 kWh at 303 W/m and 45% battery left. There were 6 superchargers there and I was the only one charging. The last leg to the Buckeye Supercharger was 101 miles. I arrived at 11am, using 119 rate miles, 34 kWh, and 336 W/mile. The speed limit was 75 and I ran at 77 mph the whole way. I arrived with 42% battery left. It was 79 degrees. Each of the superchargers is located with restaurants or shopping near by, some better than others. I made one stop each day at a Rest Stop on the side of the road. California and Arizona have quite a few along the way.

From Buckeye I drove about 30 miles to the Phoenix Airport to pick up my wife and then off to the Westin Kierland Villas where we are spending this week. The total trip was 763 miles. I stopped at 6 superchargers along the way. I may not have needed to stop in Barstow, but I didn’t want to take a chance since this was my first voyage out in the Starship Teslaprise, yes, that is what I named my car. The Tesla ran perfectly the whole way. For the most part it was uneventful and I saw some beautiful scenery and learned a lot how the car really operates on the open road. Everyone should take a trip in a Tesla! On Saturday I will pick up my son in Flagstaff and be off to Utah. More to come.

Roger’s son and Starship Teslaprise at the Blanding, Utah charging station

Roger’s son and Starship Teslaprise at the Blanding, Utah charging station

Oh, in Phoenix I had the Tesla washed and detailed to remove all the bug art! Blink Network has charging stations all around the area. They are only 25amps and charge at 15 mph at a cost of about $3 per hour!! No wonder they all show available. I talked with the Tesla Sales Center at Scottsdale Fashion Mall and they let me use their HPWC at 80amps. This bye the way, was the spot I took my first test drive last year before ordering the car.

Blanding, Utah Tesla station, 44 panels @ 230 watts each

Blanding, Utah Tesla station, 44 panels @ 230 watts each

Stayed in Monument Valley last night and added 50 miles of charge at Gouldings Lodge RV Park via NEMA 14-50. Monument Valley was awesome and took tour this morning. In Moab now to see Arches and Canyonlands over next two days, then on to Bryce an Zion!

More to come….



03
MAR

Debbie Cripps Promotions Manager at Simon King Wildlife says:
Wildlife Adventure Holidays with Simon King


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


simon-king-lions-letsgetenergized

I’m really lucky to have a job with so much diversity. As Promotions Manager for Simon King Wildlife each day holds a different challenge, from liaising with businesses and NGO’s, writing newsletters and press releases, taking bookings for personal appearances by Simon and raising awareness of our charity the Simon King Wildlife Project, there is certainly a lot to keep me busy!

One of my favourite aspects of the job is helping Simon to arrange the wonderful wildlife trips he hosts. The holidays are designed to create awareness of the natural world and what we stand to lose if we don’t take care of the planet.

I have even been lucky enough to be hospitality staff, helping the guests to have the best time possible. I know first-hand what amazing adventures folk have on these holidays. Simon is with them from dawn to dusk, using his immense natural history knowledge and great communication skills to ensure they spot many of the wonders each region has to offer. We choose exclusive accommodation, serving yummy food, and because the guests are ‘like minded’ lifetime friendships have been formed.

simon-king-hyena-letsgetenergized

This year he is running a holiday to Islay (which is fully booked), in June he hosts a Somerset Safari, which includes a unique trip to Wild Meadows, the land surrounding his home, and a ‘behind the scenes’ visit to Secret World Wildlife Rescue. At the end of October he is running a trip to Zambia in search of big cats, wild dogs and other amazing creatures.

Next year there are plans for trips to India, Shetland, which is always hugely popular, and Canada.

So, if you want to see the world with Simon, visit our travel section at www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/travel and sign up to our mailing list.

Perhaps we’ll meet in future…



02
MAR

John Olver says:
Will.i.am, Joanna Lumley and the Future


Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,


Will.i.am, Joanna Lumley and the Future

Several months ago British journalist Joanna Lumely recorded a four day interview with Will.i.am, formerly of the Black Eyed Peas. Much of the interview was done while Will drove Joanna around to several Los Angeles locations that were of importance in his life. Will drives a Tesla Model S as do many other California celebrities. In many ways Will’s life and the interview itself provide a clear image of the near term future.

First of all the interview was not filmed, it was recorded digitally. It could very well have been recorded using a smart phone but was probably done using a digital device that could easily fit in someone’s carry-on luggage. Compared to similar efforts just 20 years ago this ability is almost magic.

One feature of the interview focused on Will and Joanna in Will’s recording studio while he created a song. The process by which Will composed, recorded, edited and mastered a complete song in just four hours would have mystified studio engineers from just a few decades ago.

Technology is evolving at an ever increasing pace. Wrist watches are soon to be on the market that will provide most of the functionality of today’s smart phones.Glasses can now serve as full motion high definition video cameras. How long before phones become implants? The point is that what we see as cutting edge now will be old news in just a few months and the pace is quickening.

That brings us to Will.i.am’s Model S and EV’s in general.

Will.i.am with his Model S

Will.i.am with his Model S

There are still many people who insist that the technology for practical, affordable EV’s just doesn’t exist. Not enough range, batteries are too expensive, charging time is too long….. The list goes on. These naysayers can be countered with sound arguments. Most major auto manufacturers already produce hybrid vehicles, sort of half EV’s and consumers really like the better gas mileage. Most major manufacturers are working on delivering plug-in EV’s within the next few years and the auto industry has lots of money and employs lots of great engineers. Does anyone really believe battery range won’t be extended, charging times reduced and costs brought down when major corporations are throwing money and expertise at the problem?

This one interview that Joanna did for the BBC provides a very good lesson about the pace of technology as well as a peek at the future. Are practical, affordable EV’s a part of our near term future? Without a doubt.

Here a link to the interview – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOJUv1Kh47E


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "Thanks to John for his coverage of the Joanna Lumley – Will-I.am documentary. John gives us an American eye view of the issues and I echo his thoughts about the future of electric transport. Once you have driven electric you never want to go back to the old technology, smell and rage of the petrol engine. Its yesterday as they say, electric is tomorrow. This weekend talk to Nissan or your favourite car deal about what the options are to test drive and see the future for yourself. "
    March 4, 2015 a 9:42 am


02
DEC

Lets Get Energized says:
NGPS win The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’


Category: Dorset Energized News, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , ,


NGPS win The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’

NGPS Limited puts Dorset firmly on Renewable Energy map with prestigious Award

The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’ puts Dorset firmly on the map for quality solar installation. Nominated by leading industry solar inverter manufacturer, Enphase Energy UK, NGPS Limited of Poole in Dorset picked up the award for the South and South West at a prestigious event held at Birmingham’s NEC Arena.

The event was organized by one of the UKs most influential solar energy magazines, Solar Power Portal, and the awards ceremony was a celebration of the UK solar industry during their Solar Energy UK Exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC.

Enphase Energy UK pioneered a breakthrough in solar inverter technology with the introduction of the micro inverter. This meant an entire solar panel system would no longer be controlled by just one inverter, as each panel is able to host its own and be controlled individually. This has enabled a large degree of flexibility for shaded or dust prone roofs as the entire system is not compromised. The technology also enables the option of a split roof installation in the case of smaller roofs, and energy production is greatly enhanced as the panels can begin generating earlier in the day than a traditional system, and later into the evening.

NGPS is one of the largest installers of Enphase micro inverters in the South West and now installs the product as standard on their solar photovoltaic systems. Nick Good: “We were delighted to be one of just two companies in the South West to be nominated, and naturally pleased to be presented with an award. We work hard to provide our customers with the very best technology in the marketplace, as well as best practice in all aspects of our business. This has been our philosophy, and I would suggest the reason for our success for more than twenty years. It is rewarding for our efforts to be both recognized and commended by a leading manufacturer in the marketplace in which we operate.”

Using Enphase, both the customer and NGPS are able to see what the system is producing. Nick Good: “Any problems, albeit rare, and we would more than likely spot this before the customer. This is because Enphase enables remote monitoring, and our technical surveyors are also able to demonstrate the energy production of neighboring properties when a new customer is looking into the cost savings of a system for themselves. Enphase also adds the benefit of a 25 year warranty and enables even more homeowners to benefit from solar energy. It most certainly means better performance so our customer can reap a greater return on their investment and an even faster payback. And a happy customer makes the job even more rewarding for us as a business.”

Vince Adams – Lets Get Energized co-founder – says:

“Congratulations to Nick Good and his family run business NGPS for their amazing Renewable Energy Advocates Award earlier this month.

The award was connected to their ground breaking work with Enphase whose system ensures that solar panels high on grooves across the land really are in good working order and report on monthly generation at the solar location.

Nick was the very first accredited Solar Installer in the UK and he has built a reputation for giving sound advice, good value and extremely good service to his customers.

We at Dorset Energised and now Lets get Energized have been helped in every way by NGPS in our work to spread the good news that is renewable energy in all its forms.

We and NGPS will continue to ensure that every household eventually has solar or a renewable alternative to supports its energy requirements and the planets need for less carbon emission.”



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.



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



18
SEP

Anna Celeste Watson says:
Wildlife Friendly Gardening for Wild About Gardens Week 2014


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


Bee on Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'

I was going to blog this week about how my partner Stu and I are planning on applying for the Dorset Wildlife’s Trust’s Wildlife Friendly Garden Award Scheme, and talk a bit about how now is a good time to think about wildlife friendly gardening when we are tackling our gardens this Autumn for the Winter, when I discovered that it is actually Wild About Gardens Week!

Wild About Gardens Week

According to Wild About Gardens, over the past 50 years we’ve seen declines in two thirds of our plant and animal species, so Wild About Gardens is a joint initiative by the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts to encourage people to support local biodiversity in their gardens.

The massive decline in the UK’s animal and plant species is for a range of reasons including loss of habitat from housing developments and farming. Many of our common garden species – hedgehogs, house sparrows, starlings and common frogs, for example – are becoming much less common. This is where gardeners can make a difference, by making their own gardens and the green spaces in their communities more wildlife friendly.

Community Grass Free Lawn Event in Dorset

Sat 20th September at Poundbury Garden Centre, Dorchester (9am – 6pm)

Here in Dorset, you help to create a Grass Free Lawn of low-growing flowering plants to be installed in the Dorchester Borough Gardens on Easter Monday next year 2015.

Pop along to the Poundbury Garden Centre to collect your free seed trays, peat-free compost and seeds, plant each different species in a separate seed tray, look after them at home and bring them along to the Borough Gardens for the Grand Planting Day next year.

Or find out if there is a Wild About Gardens Week event near you at www.wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk

Provide a sanctuary for wildlife this Winter

From hedgehogs and butterflies to birds and bats; it’s time to join forces and do something to help wildlife in your garden! For example, stems and seedheads provide habitats in your garden border so go easy on cutting back (which means less work for us too, hooray!).

Watch some ideas on how to encourage beneficial wildlife to stay in your garden through the coldest months:

Find out lots more about what you can do in your own garden at www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk and make sure you visit The RHS and The Wildlife Trusts for more tips on how you can make a difference this autumn.

The Wildlife Friendly Garden Award Scheme

Creating a wildlife-friendly garden (at any time of the year) makes a valuable contribution towards conserving your local wildlife and can form a vital patchwork linking urban areas with the wider countryside.

The Wildlife Trusts say that garden acreage is at least five times that of all the nature reserves and national parks put together. Climate change is also a real threat for our wildlife and having safe havens with food and water all year round could help some of our more vulnerable species survive.

Here’s the current criteria for the Dorset Wildlife’s Trust’s Wildlife Friendly Garden Award Scheme:

You need to send photographic evidence to show you have five or more from the list below, to include at least one from each column A, B and C to be eligible for a plaque saying you have a ‘Wildlife Friendly Garden’.

A: HABITATS

  • Wildlife Pond
  • Bog or permanently wet area
  • Bird Bath
  • Bird Box
  • Bat Box

B: PLANTING

  • Wild flower Meadow
  • Climbing plants/Trellises suitable for nesting and feeding
  • Nectar rich flower border and bushes
  • Mixed Native Hedge
  • Mature Native Tree

C: MANAGEMENT

  • Log pile and/or substantial decaying tree stump
  • Compost Heap
  • Long Grass area
  • No-go area
  • Slug pellet free

Stu and I have discovered we already more than qualify for the plaque, basically because we quite like wild gardens and are so busy working from home as Designers we don’t spend a huge amount of time gardening to be honest, although it is very grounding and satisfying when we do!

Apart from feeding the birds (and squirrels!) every day, making sure water trays are full for our frogs and resident hedgehogs, having a compost bin which our slow worms and smaller worms love, some bay trees which our lovely resident blackbird family sleep in, some runner beans that the slugs and snails love (we would NEVER dream of using slug pellets which can kill hedgehogs) and a couple of log piles left over from last time we gardened, we’d also like to actively create even more space for nature… so watch this space!!!

Find out more on www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-friendly-gardens-scheme.html and I’ll update you on if and when we get our plaque, hopefully soon!

Also check out Friends of the Earth’s 4 steps to a beautiful Bee World as we all know by now that its vital we have plants to feed the bees, as they are crucial to our whole ecosystem. Until next time… : )


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Natalie B. comments:
    "I love this article! I like events like garden week! There are many great ideas you can learn. I think it is very important to make your garden animal-friendly. I do everything I can to have many birds in the garden! Thanks for sharing! "
    October 15, 2014 a 10:42 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "This approach to helping wildlife by the way we garden is very close to my heart.
    My wife Lin has spent the last 25 years putting together a natural organic garden that we believe is a haven for wildlife of every kind.
    Our passion is seeing the bees and butterflies thrive and our ash, beech and silver birch trees grow ever bigger each year.
    2014 has been an amazing year with weather that appears to be perfect for the natural garden to thrive.
    If everyone of us changed our habits by allowing piles of garden rubbish to stay in situ the bees would thrive, hedgehogs, insects of all kinds and think of all the energy saved when big trucks don’t have to collect garden waste bags !! "

    September 18, 2014 a 5:37 pm


11
SEP

Vince Adams says:
Story from Sweden


Category: Combined Heat & Power, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , ,


Story from Sweden

High on the Bjare peninsular near Barstad there is a famous tourist destination called Havers Hog below which the Halland Sas becomes the Kattegat Sea leading North to the Arctic.Its a beautiful site and has a great Hotel with views and good food.

I meet with the Owner and he explained his approach to sustainability and the environment and I was truly impressed. All their heating and hot water is produced by their own biomass boiler using local hay stubble that previously was burned in the Autumn.

All the hotel roofs have been grass covered and at this time of year are a haven for wild flowers and grasses. The grass provides amazing insulation and is great for the environment. In the main lounge and dining room they have a huge wood stove that in Winter is hugely productive using only local wood from sustainable sources. They use as much local food as possible and have their own market garden that is fully productive throughout the year. To cap it all they have pioneered with a local Swedish company a means of maintain great-usable clean water without burdening the local eco structure. I was shown the system which involves three levels of purification from proactive to react and then finally into an interact area with reeds, ponds and wildlife. The system is now being marketed throughout Scandinavia and has created a prosperous grwowing company with many staff and distributors all benefiting from what started at Havers Hog Hotel.

The projects have all shown economic sense as well as the Green feeling so why oh why can’t more of our UK hotels follow a similar pattern?

I am sure that they are trying so let’s hear their stories and spread the word.

View from Havers Hog

View from Havers Hog



06
AUG

Vince Adams says:
What Range Anxiety?


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


What Range Anxiety?

I drove to London on Friday in my Leaf Electric car and was amazed at how easy the journey now is.

I charged up overnight on Thursday and set off to London stopping at Fleet services 85 miles from home then onto Richmond few miles around London and then back to Fleet services, coffee and another free charge fro Ecotricity and home to Sturminster in Dorset.

Total cost £2’s, comfort, huge ease of drive, tremendous. Can’t wait for next trip up to Birmingham this weekend.

Vince and his Leaf

Vince and his Leaf



17
JUL

Erik Blakeley says:
Observations on a journey to Falmouth


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


Observations on a drive to to a Conference in Falmouth

I have just been lucky enough to attend the one-day conference on Integrated Renewables for Autonomous Power Supply http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/events/details/index.php?event=2164  at the Penryn outstation of Exeter University. Many speakers from Britain, Norway and India gave impressive talks on PV, Biomass, Storage and Grid Integration along with some informative poster presentations by leading academics and up and coming research students. There was also a tour of the BREEAM excellent rated research facility. Not only did this fill me with excitement over the progress being made towards overcoming the storage and grid integration issues surrounding a truly low carbon energy industry but my journey along the A30 across Bodmin and down to Falmouth gave me a great opportunity to see some of the wind turbines and solar parks that are allowing Devon and Cornwall to so impressively out -perform Dorset in decarbonisation.

Now I know what you are thinking “If you’re so green what are you doing driving to Cornwall?” Well I could point out that I car shared with my partner and we stayed an extra night to make a mini break of it so it was far less environmentally damaging than an air flight to anywhere for a holiday but instead I will put my hand up and recognise that my ownership of a car is amongst the least green things I do. There are people who manage to do without a car by choice for environmental reasons and there are those, of course, who cannot afford to run a car but it is clear that personal transport is one of the most appreciated advantages of relative affluence and for good reason. I could not do many of the things I most enjoy in life without a car; I could not have commuted to my places of work from the pleasant places I have been lucky enough to live in without a car and I would not even have met my partner if I had not been able to travel long distances with large quantities of camping and living history equipment to re-enactment events using my car. Most adults in this country either own a car or would prioritise acquiring a car were their financial situation to improve. As far as the GHG emissions issue is concerned we are on the brink of a personal transport revolution with battery cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars ready to be used but just out of reach for most because of the lack of support infrastructure and high prices due to the lack of economy of scale in the manufacturing of the new vehicles.

As I was driving along the A30 seeing the regular appearance of wind turbines of many different designs I was of course struck by the fact that, although they were striking in their appearance, they did not ruin the views or do anything to diminish these counties as potential holiday destinations. There were several points at which I observed things that were something of an eyesore. The “Cornish Alps” of tin mining waste are a constant reminder of the long term damage done to environments by mining either for metals or for coal. There are a couple of places on the route where high voltage transmission cables and pylons criss-cross otherwise appealing valleys but we generally ignore these because we are now so used to them and very few of us would be prepared to do without reliable low cost electricity made possible by the National grid.

Finally I mustn’t forget the visual and noise impact of the very dual carriageway I was driving along. We have come to terms with the carving up of our countryside by dual carriageways and bypasses because we know that we can only enjoy the benefits of mass car ownership with a modern road network and, had we stuck with the road network of the 1950s we would be in a state of perpetual gridlock and economic collapse. I remember when the anti-road protestors focussed their efforts on the Newbury Bypass in the 1980s behind the charismatic figurehead of “Swampy”. I was very much in two minds about this as, at the time, I was doing student placement work at Harwell and travelling there each week from Leicestershire. Newbury was always gridlocked on a Monday morning and a Friday evening. The conditions for the people living next to the through road must have been extremely unpleasant and the traveller could spend an hour or more stuck in or around Newbury. Now, with the Newbury bypass and others on the A43 and A34 the run from the NE Midlands to the South Midlands is one of the easiest journeys you can take long distance in England and you get to see some lovely countryside which, although significantly affected by the roads, has not been totally ruined by them. There are certain houses and communities that I can see have suffered quite considerably especially when compared with the miniscule effects of distributed renewables like wind turbines or solar farms but on balance one can say that the price paid does not outweigh the benefits to the country of our modern road network. I see the situation with renewables as much the same as that of bypass politics in the 1970s and 80s. We all want cheap electricity and we don’t want our children and grandchildren to suffer short lives of suffering due to climate change initiated war, disease and economic collapse but some of us still don’t accept that this requires action now to change our economy and in so doing change our countryside even though the real downsides of that change are trivial in the extreme.

The other important aspect of this is the economic benefits to Cornwall of Renewables. The positive and proactive attitude of elected representatives and individuals in that county especially has meant that large sums of money that would have been flowing out of the county to the coffers of large energy firms is now going instead to farmers, land owners and ordinary home owners who are contributing to the green revolution. New employment opportunities are being created in academic institutions like the Penryn campus and in the support industries for renewable energy generation. Dorset is missing out on these things and again it is indicative of the selfish attitudes of those who are driving the anti-renewable agenda in our county. Many of them are much richer than the average in the county. They have built up big pension pots and share portfolios through their economically high intensity jobs in the SE of England and elsewhere causing all sorts of environmental issues there and around the world. Their invested capital continues to do so. For many who have lived all their lives in Dorset the only opportunities are low pay boring jobs in care homes or ever decreasing numbers of low grade public sector jobs. An opponent of renewables recently attended a meeting in Blandford who had moved to Dorset recently after a successful career in the SE of England. He stated that he couldn’t see the community benefit schemes relating to the proposed wind farms doing any good because the community he lived in already had a village hall and a post office so what was the point? I am sure that if you have a large income that comes to you without any need to travel to work or to work for that matter and your children are grown up and live in a completely different part of the country then you might struggle to see what a community benefit scheme should be spent on but if you are struggling to find a job or cannot find the child care facilities to enable you to work or have to rely in your old age on public transport because you don’t have a big fat pension then I am sure you might be able to think of some constructive ideas for the money.


5Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "Thank you Richard for coming on to this site to spur some of us on to debate these important issues with you. We all have to be careful not to get too het up discusing issues we feel strongly about and flinging accusations around. So I will try not to accuse anyone of being childish or pontificating or being rich enough to own race horses. I’ve seen a couple of other large wind turbine applications at close hand and have some observations.
    First, they both failed. You will take heart from that. I – of course – don’t. Second, the two camps were clearly divided between mainly the farming community (wealthy – on paper – landowners and relatively low paid farm workers)and those not associated with the land who usually (not always) had no historical association with the land. (as opposed with landscape). The farmers may be sitting on land and property worth millions with large sums flowing through their business but their disposable income can be modest. They work very long hours as standard and consider themselves guardians of the land (and landscape)which they expect to pass on to their childern rather than realise paper wealth. I was once told by a farmer only half jokingly that I shouldn’t expect him to take my opinions on local matters seriously because my family had not been in Dorset since Saxon times. Despite that comment, farmers are usually quiet, self effacing, not prone to voicing their opinions and actually quite easily intimidated.
    Wind turbines make sense to farmers because they give resource efficient future financial security.
    The opposing camp were very ably led by people who had moved into the area, often to retire. They had excellent communications skills (as do you Richard), experience and expectations of being listened to and time enough to coordinate their actions. They put high value on the landscape the farming community have created and looked to the past (Hardy’s Dorset!!)rather than the constant change and planning for the future they may have experienced in their own working lives.
    I mention all this because I wonder if there is the same polorised situation in Winterborne Whitchurch.
    My personal opinion is that wind turbines are essential infrastructure projects for a future economy based on use of free natural local resources. 10% of UK electricity was generated by wind in 2013 (see DECC website.)As with all large projects there will be casualties and I believe those householders who are most affected should be fairly compensated (community fund?)
    I would echo Vince’s offer that together we seek locatons for big wind turbines that are not offensive to people with your particular sensitivity to the landscape. This is an importnat task and I hope you can help us. "

    July 23, 2014 a 5:21 pm

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "I am afraid that nothing Mr Fry says really contradicts what I said in the original piece. Obviously affluence is relative but I do think it is fair to say that the majority of people who are fortunate enough to be able to retire to Dorset are more wealthy than many who have lived here all their lives especially given the difference between average earnings in the SE of England (where many retired persons move from)and in Dorset. If I made an unfair assumption in suggesting that Mr Fry came here after a “Successful career in the SE of England” then I apologize. I know he said he came from the SE I inferred the rest form his ability to afford the move. Mr Fry says that he merely wished to question how funds for Winterborne Whitechurch could be used fairly because the community only has a “village hall and church both run on shoestring budgets”. This does not make much sense as not only does it suggest that those existing facilities could benefit from not having to run on such shoestring budgets but it also means that there are many other things that could be started with the money available such as a local job club or subsidized child care or a community car share project. With a bit of imagination a sum like £36k could easily be spent without looking too far from the site of the wind farm. The reason why the REG rep couldn’t tell him how the money would be spent is that these community benefit schemes are meant to be flexible enough to enable local communities to decide what they need from the scheme so it’s not down to the firm to dictate what is done and I am sure that some in WW could come up with much better suggestions than mine. It is not set in stone how the money should be allocated geographically and this is also a matter for negotiation with the communities who feel they have a claim on the money if they are prepared to engage constructively. I don’t accept that the idea of 15 turbines over a distance of 10 miles is excessive and is very similar to the spacing I saw along the A30 without the environment being ruined which is the main point of my piece. "
    July 23, 2014 a 9:33 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "Richard I’d like to take up your challenge at the meeting that you are not against renewables/wind turbines per se but the siting of them. I kind of get that and if the perspective in the village is that you are being dwarfed as it were then developers and planners have to take this into account.
    So lets meet and go out into Dorset and find the sites that you think would be more acceptable.
    Can we find sites where there is consensus, if we can then frankly that would be marvellous.
    I am available anytime at vince@dorsetenergized.co.uk so lets breathe some new ideas into how we move renewables flly forward in the County.
    By the way the other key point is that I believe that energy savings for villagers say within a 5 mile radius of any sites would be better than community funds.
    Even better than that lets create community funded projects that the people all have ownership of. "

    July 22, 2014 a 6:56 pm

  • Richard Fry comments:
    "I am the person you refer to (fifth paragraph) who recently attended the meeting in Blandford. Your misrepresentations and assumptions are quite honestly untrue, ignorant and insulting. In particular, I am not rich, I stated clearly that I am in my sixth year of my life-long ambition to live in beautiful Dorset, and with regards the projected £36k per annum (forecast total £900k) ‘REG (the turbine producer) Community Benefit Fund’, I actually enquired of the REG rep. present how the allocation of such huge funds for “good causes in the community” in Winterborne Whitechurch (a small village south of Blandford possibly to be dwarfed by 4 Giant turbines) could possibly be allocated fairly as we only have a village hall and church, both run on shoestring budgets. Therefore, would the funds be issued to satellite villages or even Blandford. You may remember that the REG rep. could not answer the question satisfactorily to the consternation of others at the meeting. A far cry from what you state. Your childish outburst re fat pensions, portfolios, etc is somewhat pathetic. Maybe the millionaire landowner providing the sites for the turbines may wish to respond, providing he’s not away with his racehorses. Finally, I again clearly stated that far from being against renewable energy, I was actually objecting to the siting of turbines right next to my rural village, and that if the three current applications in North Dorset go through, that fifteen giant turbines will be situated in the ten miles between North Dorchester and Winterborne Whitechurch. The flood gates are opening… For some one who pontificates so wordily and so often, I wonder how often you stray from reality and the truth as you appear to ‘wind yourself up’ – ref to one of your previous blogs. I have no intention to debate the issues with you, but would like others who may wish to, to be aware of your ‘flexibility’ of the truth in your reports. "
    July 19, 2014 a 3:51 pm

  • vince adams comments:
    "Anyone who can afford a decent car make the change soon to Electric, not hybrid but full on Electric..
    The fun you will have the serenity the release from the grunt and grind of driving conventional cars will disappear overnight.
    People of Dorset take up Erik’s call for us to as they say “Get a life”, support UK like so many regions have done in the past by supporting clean renewable energy.
    The problems we have can all be surmounted by development, financial support and growing renewable markets. Its like the tele, the mobile phone etc someday renewable energy will be the norm. Don’t fight it join the revolution "

    July 17, 2014 a 5:51 pm


13
JUN

Guest Energizer says:
Samsoe – An Energy Island


Category: Biomass Energy, Combined Heat & Power, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , , ,


Samsoe – An Energy Island

INTRO: Here is an article by Arthur Blue, a new contributor to our Blog, about an island in Denmark. Arthur is based in Argyll, but the article is highly relevant to Dorset which is also of course rural, with remote areas, and the potential to produce much of its own energy.

So to the article:

An Energy Island

I was in Denmark recently, enjoying herring on rye bread, blethering with old friends, and brushing up my rusty Danish.

Economists of the Anglo-American persuasion are convinced that the Danish economy is far too heavily loaded with taxes and welfare systems to take off and fly, but fly it does and the evidence is in front of your eyes in Copenhagen, where the amount of new investment, both public and private, is impressive, as are the famous open sandwiches.

Yes … a decent one costs about Dkr 100 ( £12.50 ) , but it’s enough for a good meal on its own. But to avoid both cultural and culinary overload we decided to have a long weekend on the island of Samsoe, famous for its early potatoes … in late May these were selling for very high prices in the capital … and for being self-sufficient in electrical power and domestic heating. It’s an island slightly larger than Bute, with around 4,00 permanent inhabitants, with large numbers of visitors during the season, mostly staying in summer houses well hidden amongst the trees.

The background to this is that in the latter half of the last century Samsoe, together with other small islands and remoter areas, was falling behind in development, what with high transport costs, falling population, difficulties for small concerns trying to compete in the larger market, and loss of young people, once they had qualified, to the mainland. It’s all very familiar. Denmark has the usual assistance programmes, but the trends continued. However in 1997 the Ministry of Energy announced a competition …. which local area or island could present the most realistic plan for a transition to 100% self-sufficiency in renewable energy. Small easily-defined communities were chosen since the social effects could thus be more readily monitored. Four islands and a peninsula entered the competition, and Samsoe won, with the objective being to highlight renewable energy and study how high a percentage could be achieved using available technology and ( almost ) without extraordinary grants.

Bearing in mind that most of Samsoe’s electricity comes from wind, the first thing to strike me was that the views are not dominated by turbines, for though you can usually see one or two in the distance if you look really hard, you do have to look for them. There is a large offshore array which exports power to the mainland and which offsets the island’s CO2 emissions from vehicle fuel, this isn’t particularly visible from inland, though the ferry passes close by, and in any case no-one complains about it since it also provides an income for the local energy company. As with other things who owns them affects the way you see them.

Local electrical demand is mostly covered by 11 1-MW ( medium-sized ) turbines across 3 clusters, plus a number of small privately-owned units, and there is an interconnector with Jutland through which power can go both ways, if required.

Demand management … smoothing the peaks …. has been the subject of much thought and consultation, and it’s considered that there is still a great deal to be won in that direction, both on Samsoe and elsewhere. Domestic heating on the island, like many places in Denmark, is based on district heating plants, since its only with industrial-type technology that you can achieve satisfactory combustion when burning waste or biomass. Planners can require the use of district heating for new buildings in urban areas, but in the case of older existing buildings the owners have to be persuaded to convert and there are various grants for this, including special arrangements for pensioners. District heating is not suitable for isolated houses either, and on Samsoe these have their own heating. Around 50% of the isolated year-round houses on the island have now converted to some form of RE, using straw or biomass and solar water panels. On the summer-house front RE is low, though a number have installed air-to-air heat pumps A programme of thorough insulation was of course carried out as an essential first step in all this, for which there was a very good take-up. One old lady in Nordby could only afford to replace her windows one at a time, but she managed it, over about ten years.

There are 5 village-based district heating systems on the island, mostly fuelled by biomass ( waste straw and wood chips ). One of the plants has a substantial input from solar water panels, and since the heat is transmitted by water surplus electrical power can easily go into the systems if necessary. Another plant also takes waste heat from a jam factory, and a proposal to use waste heat from the ferry, which could have supplied about 30% of demand at the port, fell through not because it was technically difficult … it wasn’t … but because the ferry service being tendered out there is no guarantee that a future operator would be interested in co-operating. To get everything going it was decided by NRGi ( the island energy company ) that a very low registration fee of Dkr 80 ( £10 ) would be charged for those who signed up before the plants were built. This model is an exception to normal practice since in Denmark those who wish to join an existing district heating scheme can find themselves paying around Dkr 36.000 ( £ 4,000 ). A consequence of the cheap registration is of course slightly higher heating prices, since the payments also have to cover repayment of the initial investment, however if you’re starting from scratch a high take-up significantly reduces distribution costs. In addition some of the larger farmers make their own tractor fuel from rape, the oilseed cake being a useful cattle feed, and the straw going into their heating plant, these, like most Samsinger, are highly practical people, who wear overalls rather than rainbow-coloured jumpers, and who think that it makes economic as well as environmental sense to go renewable. However plans to go further and use more local oil cake to replace imported fodder, and sell the oil, have faltered on account of the government’s fuel taxation policy And an Energy Academy has been set up on the island, using the expertise acquired with the local project. The Academy is the headquarters of Samsoe’s energy and development organisations, with 11 full-time jobs in energy education and world-wide consultancy, one of their current projects being on Mull.

The above is where Samsoe has got to after about fifteen years, but it wasn’t all easy. Mikael Larsen, who heads the Energy Academy, says that the technology is the easy bit, and the bigger the easier, since all you have to do is sell a feasible scheme to one or other of the big players who then bring everything in ( and take most of the profits out again, though a small local share can still be very useful ) And big schemes are usually very high-tech, and well beyond local capabilities. Thus with the Samsoe offshore array. The local projects, on the other hand, are much more low-tech, can use local firms for more of the work, and have a much better social pay-off. The hardest part of the project is not the design and building, or the financing, but persuading people that it is indeed feasible, and obtaining workable consensus on it. There are always those who for various reasons don’t wish to be involved, or are too old or too crabbed to be bothered. Many of the holiday visitors, though they contribute very usefully to the island economy, aren’t particularly interested in going over to electric cars, and the summer houses, being spread out, don’t lend themselves to district heating. So the political side … though not party-political … was by far the biggest challenge. It always is. An ocean of coffee and a mountain of cake was needed to get the plan rolling, and doubtless a fair quantity of the golden brew which comes in green bottles.

So did anything go wrong during all this ? Yes indeed. The ferry heat project fell through, as did another which proposed to use waste heat from the island slaughterhouse, when the latter closed a few years into the project. A methane project is still on the back burner.

And the three electric cars which were given to the district nurses were an absolute disaster owing to unexpected call-outs, unpredictable driving patterns, and the nurses forgetting to recharge the things after a busy day. But the electric car used by the Energy Academy apparently can get to Copenhagen, over 100 miles away, quite easily given a quick top-up at some intermediate coffee stop. In several years use that vehicle has had only one failure … a broken wire. But you learn from the failures, sometimes more than from the successes. So the project rolls on, with one aim being to fuel the ferry with locally-produced biogas ( a ferry has room for quite a big tank ), and possibly the production of hydrogen for vehicular use, as vehicle fuel is now the largest energy import to the island. Local electric car use could also be greatly expanded. It’s all well worth a closer look. You can have a very good cycling holiday on Samsoe, too, while you’re looking.

( Further information is available on the web, in English, at www.energiakademiet.dk also, since Samsoe is by no means the only island to have gone down the renewable road, at www.europenreislands.net which is one of the EU’s development arms. )



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