Posts Tagged ‘renewables’


21
JAN

Vince Adams says:
Keith Wheaton Green speaks out


Category: Renewable Energy, Uncategorized
Tags: ,


Power from the People
I was at a meeting of the South Somerset Hydropower Group (SSHG) a couple of weeks ago. Have you noticed how whenever a group of British people meet on more than one occasion to discuss matters of mutual interest, they instinctively elect a chairman, secretary, treasurer and thereafter, manage their affairs with integrity? Their interests usually also have some benefit to wider society. This has certainly been true of SSHG. The group have had a profoundly positive effect on developing the hydropower industry in the SW. Members attend consultation events organised by the Environment Agency and government departments as well as opening their sites for visits. Apparently 39% of the UK population volunteer at least once a year. People give their time and energy to achieve things for society as a whole. Very civilised. David Cameron described it as the “Big Society” and gave much encouragement including “The Building a Stronger Civil Society Strategy” published in 2010.
There followed in 2014 a “Community Energy Strategy” which set out a vision for rapid expansion of the community owned energy sector and an explanation of the financial incentives from government.
Many of us interested renewable energy responded by setting up a community energy society to develop installations owned and managed by people living nearby. There are now over 5,000 of these who have developed PV, wind and hydro projects in the UK with the south west well represented. A lot of voluntary work went into finding sites, negotiating with site owners and renewable energy installers, writing share offer documents and sorting out land and roof leases. Volunteers organisations cannot be as fleet of foot as in the commercial world. In most cases the volunteers are on a steep learning curve. But the future for this activity was bright. The government had told us so.
However, during the latter half of 2015 – without the Lib Dems pushing this agenda from the Department of Energy and Climate Change – we have seen a dramatic change of emphasis. First we had the consultation to reduce the feed in tariffs (FITs) by 87%. We don’t know for sure whether government will take any notice of the 55,000 responses, which include what DECC describe as “2800 detailed written responses,” but they don’t usually make a difference. Secondly, the ability to pre-accredit a project – so that it has a FIT rate guaranteed two years before installation – has been removed. This is particularly cruel for hydro projects because it can take years to get the necessary licenses and permissions, and money spent achieving them is even more at risk when the returns are unknown. Thirdly, George Osborne announced that – despite the promises in the Community Energy Strategy – Social Investment Tax Relief would specifically not be available for Community Energy Societies.
The net result of these changes is that the projects that have soaked up so much volunteer time, energy and enthusiasm, that cannot be installed before the multiple deadlines do not stack up financially. It seems our efforts may have been wasted. So much for Cameron’s “Big Society
Government U turns are also having an impact on the South West’s renewable energy installation companies. The Renewable Energy Association estimates 20.000 jobs will be lost so I was interested to listen to the CEO of a small SW company. They had diversified from their long established plumbing and heating company to install PV, solar thermal, biomass boilers and heat pumps. In the year ending June 2015 their turnover of renewable energy business was £600k which amounted to 2/3 of their business. New premises had been taken on and staff diverted from traditional boiler work. Money was spent in training. Since the proposed FITs cuts were announced there has been a large amount of work booked for installation before January 2016 to take advantage of the current tariffs. There have been no enquiries for work after then so they will have to lay off one member of staff. The company will revert to its original core business and hope to take work from other competing business. Basically, renewables were an area of growth enabling existing businesses to expand and new ones to set up. We will now see a contraction and redundancies.
Individual Conservative MPs have been supportive of their constituents pro renewables dialogue. However, I suspect many currently working in the renewables industry regret the loss of Lib Dem MPs in the SW that lead to the demise of the Coalition government.

 

“this article first appeared in The Landsman”



07
DEC

Keith Wheaton-Green says:
How the UK National Media Treats Renewables


Category: Renewable Energy
Tags: , , ,


We came across this article by E2B pulse – the UK carbon reduction network on a new study which has revealed the extent of negative media coverage of renewables.

It says: “More than half of articles on renewable energy published by the UK’s leading newspapers are either ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’, according to research by the CleanTech division of PR consultancy CCGroup.”

You can read the full article here: http://www.e2bpulse.com/Articles/335473/E2B/Pulse/News/News_Articles/2012/Study_reveals_extent.aspx

The article essentially tells us what we already knew… that the printed media in particular is biased against renewables and that the nuclear and fossil fuels lobbies have been successful in promoting their industries at the expense of renewables. The public interest is best served through provision of decentralised energy generation that will prove to be cheaper in the medium to long term. Wind and solar for example cost nothing to run! It is only possible to compete with that by an attempt to totally rubbish it through misinformation. But, you can kid all the people for some of the time… (you know the rest!).

Obviously the last thing centralised energy companies want is energy independence and much lower bills to their current consumers. The best thing that renewable energy enthusiasts such as myself can do, is inform people as honestly as we can, how we can install our own domestic renewables and buy our electricity and heat from a specialist energy supplier with a renewable energy focus. Then enjoy our lower energy bills while others continue to be fooled into an upward spiral of dependency and cost.

For more information on all your renewable energy options see Dorset Energized’s section here: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy

For tips on saving energy see: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/energy-efficiency or to switch your energy supply to Good Energy go to: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/switch-energy-suppliers



24
OCT

Vince Adams says:
Scientists can now make electricity from your footsteps!


Category: Renewable Energy
Tags: ,


I came across this interesting item in the journal Indian Chemical Engineer this week…

Every time you take a step, mechanical energy goes through the sole of your shoe, and scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California are figuring out a way to harness this energy, using a paper-thin generator. The ‘living generator’ uses viruses to convert the energy into electricity by harnessing the physical stress. It can produce enough electricity to run a small LCD panel. In the future, this could be a way to power personal devices like mobile phones or torches.

This generator is the first of its kind to harness the piezoelectric properties of a biological material, which are the accumulation of a charge in a solid in response to mechanical stress. There is much work to be done before the device is practical for public use, but it is a significant development in the field of personal power generation.

 



08
OCT

Theresa McManus says:
Electric cars not green if coal used to generate energy


Category: Electric Transport
Tags: , , , , ,


The BBC reported last week that a study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology study found that greenhouse gas emissions rose dramatically if coal is used to produce the electricity.

For me this is not really news – anything we do using electricity is bad news if that electricity was generated using fossil fuels. I think this just emphasises the need for a rapid transition away from fossils fuels in electricity production. Maybe as local authorities and others start rolling out electric vehicle charging points, renewable generation can be co-located ?

One key message which is currently underplayed is that to achieve this switch away from fossil fuels in anything like an appropriate timeframe, not only do we need to increase investment in renewables but we also need to focus on reducing our energy demand.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19830232 for details of the article.


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Ian Howard comments:
    "The benefit of electric cars is that it will reduce pollution in towns and cities. However if the electricity to recharge them is the increased use of coal fired power stations then all we are doing is moving the problem. Which then leads me to ask the question how green are they? "
    October 8, 2012 a 2:01 pm

  • Nathan Shaw comments:
    "As David Mackay states in his book ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air': Using grid electricity for electric cars produces emissions equivalent to fossil fuel cars. So, why not change? Its no worse for the environment and the greater strain on our grid will be a catalyst for investment in renewable energy. Then, renewables will be seen as ‘heroes’ for saving the car and the world will quickly embrace them – or maybe im getting carried away! "
    October 8, 2012 a 11:15 am


03
OCT

Wendy Pillar says:
Rare earth elements in renewable energy


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


I have heard it said that electric cars and other renewable energy technology use rare earth elements and that this is a reason why they are not really ‘green’. But is this true?

Dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium are all extremely rare and are vital in renewable energy and electric cars, especially in batteries. The economic crisis has meant that the super-rich have a shortage of profitable outlets for their billions, with a sluggish stock market and a worldwide depression in consumption. One of the few areas that is booming is renewable energy, and the rarity of these elements has led to a modern ‘goldrush’. While much of the production comes from countries like Australia, there are also cases of land being ‘grabbed’ from indigenous people, and open cast mining in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Amazon. It is perfectly obvious to most of us that destroying rainforest to make a ‘green’ car makes no sense, but not it seems to big business.

So is this a reason not to buy renewable energy products? No. It is the same issue of regulating multinational corporations and preventing them from exploiting poor countries and the environment in their short-term grab for profits that is largely what got us into this mess in the first place, both financially and environmentally! The same problems occur for elements in the screens of your laptop and mobile phone, components in conventional cars, and even something as common as aluminium, not to mention coal for conventional power generation.

One thing we can do about it is to always recycle electrical products by taking them to the recycling centre, rather than letting them go to landfill in the domestic rubbish. The more components are recycled, the less has to come out of the ground. We can also help by placing our financial business with ethical funds or an ethical bank, since many of these environmental crimes are committed with the collective money from our pension funds and savings.

The issue also highlights that merely switching to another kind of consumption is not the whole answer. Buying an electric car instead of a conventional car is good, but so is doing half as many miles in your existing car and making it last twice as long, or waiting until your mobile breaks, instead of until it goes out of fashion, before replacing it.

Check out our pages on Energy Efficiency on: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/energy-efficiency and Sustainable Living: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/sustainable-living

We can all also support the work of charities such as Greenpeace, Christian Aid and Oxfam in fighting ‘land grabbing’.



25
SEP

Vince Adams says:
Don’t be led by the small minority: the Anti Wind Turbine Brigade!


Category: Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Myself and fellow members of Energise Stur Valley and Transition Town Sturminster Newton are concerned that the headlines in the Blackmore Vale Magazine this weekend gave a highly negative view towards Wind Turbines.

If only the voices of a small vocal minority are heard with substantial amounts of dis-information, then it would appear the process of Public Inquiry is itself under threat.

Energise Stur Valley, Transition Town Sturminster Newton and Dorset Energized are committed to helping to give good information to local people upon which they can make truly informed decisions about the way that we and Dorset should be developing renewable energy resources. We are keen to express the need for Community action and ownership of energy creating schemes whilst supporting in general principal the growth of all forms of renewable development.

The anti wind turbine brigade are well funded, totally committed to protecting their own backyards and irrational in their views. Old heresy is dredged up time and time again which have little truth and stop Dorset and this Country moving forward and making the very most of our natural resources.

So please listen to both sides, make your own decisions and don’t be lead by the Anti Brigade.

Here are just a few points that take up some of the dis-information and are far more informed:

1. The substantial wind resource in Dorset is not being utilised as described in the Dorset Renewable Energy Strategy. There are no wind turbines larger than 20 kW currently installed in Dorset.

2. All surrounding counties (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire) have multi MW turbines either already installed or with positive planning determinations.

3. In every survey of Dorset residents ever undertaken there has always been a majority in favour of large wind turbines (Dorset Citizens Panel questionnaires).

4. The representations against the application are motivated by concerns about visual impact, which is inevitably a big issue for those living closest to the proposed turbines but it must be remembered that they are a minority within the district.

5. The majority in favour of the application tend to be less motivated to voice their opinion and in some cases feel bullied to remain silent such is the robustness by which every comment of theirs is countered (as we have even seen on the comments on this very blog!).

6. There is much misinformation being repeated by objectors to the application and reported in the local media.

7. Statements made about the proposed turbines being inefficient, Ecotricity being financially unstable, the concrete to be used affecting the water table and emitting more CO2 than the turbines save, are not correct.

For more information on Wind Power see our page on:
www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy/wind-power


10Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "To hear the opponents talk you would think that no other form of power plant ever need maintenance or replacement. Nuclear has one of the highest O&M costs around. Gas plant has a similar life expectancy to wind. As to the health worries these scare stories are repeatedly discredited yet still they come back again and again. I know its all still out there on the internet but so are the claims that aliens are probing our brains – it doesn’t mean its true. I sympathize with people that are being frightened by the new technology especially the gentleman who is concerned about his epileptic relative but the epilepsy society has pointed out that the large turbines rotate too slowly for them to pose a threat to epileptics. Wind turbine syndrome was a bit of pseudoscience generated by poor scientific technique used by biased researchers in the US and elsewhere which isn’t even mentioned by the more informed opponents these days because they know it is just not real. Other forms of power generation do pose real and significant threats to public health so wind power is one of the generation technologies least likely to injure or harm you as a member of the public and consumer of energy. We cannot solve our problems by just using one form of low carbon technology – we cannot just build solar (what happens at night?) We cannot even just build nuclear (nuclear power is very inflexible and needs to be run at a steady output making it just as dependent on storage as wind if it is to cope with changes in demand). We need a wide range of technologies working together to give us a flexible and reliable energy system. Onshore wind is an indispensable part of that mix. "
    May 9, 2014 a 8:15 am

  • Cameron Phillips comments:
    "I for one am against wind turbines on shore, especially the Blandford hill one, as I live on Blandford Hill, I dont want my and my family’s health to get worse, my younger sibling has epilepsy, If someone put them in your backyard, you would feel the way Im feeling "
    May 8, 2014 a 8:03 pm

  • daniel comments:
    "there is too much information that shows that they are inefficient, there are days throughout the UK when the wind does not blow, they need support net works of power stations, and often there will be a need for more pylons to support them! Plus with the big turbines, they are more prone to going wrong, look at Professional Industry pieces on this. It is agreed that turbines need new gearboxs etc. once every five years, which can be 10 percent of the cost of the turbine itself! They need regular maintenance, to guard against blade failure, brake failure etc. In Europe Insurers are waking up to the costs of Wind turbines, regretably they do go wrong, and if you have houses near by, the results can be very unpleasant. Records in Germany and other countries have turbine collapse and blades crashing through peoples roofs! Very frightening! I think the approach is wrong, if wind turbines are efficient etc then people should be campaigning that they be sited over 2kms away from peoples homes, you cannot deny how ever keen you feel about turbines that they are blighting peoples lives when they are too close… wind turbine syndrome looks like it may be a real problem and not in peoples minds, so what better way of tackling this than making sure that wind turbines are responsibly placed, if they have to be placed anywhere… finally please understand that wind turbines, the large ones, like the ones planned for Tolpuddle are Industrial installations, it will be an industrial site, and it is being placed near areas of outstanding natural beauty etc. where it may have an impact on Tourist trade….it is in the wrong place. Industrial installations should be for brown field sites, not agricultural land that will be down graded into being a brown field site. Please look on the net, learn how people are affected through out the World by having windfarms so close to them, how it damages the quality of their lives, and then perhaps you can understand why people are resistent to them! "
    November 29, 2012 a 11:41 am

  • Theresa comments:
    "I know I bang on about energy efficiency and demand reduction, but having an energy efficient home means we only use about 1500kW electricity a year (and a titchy amount of gas for our gas cooker). If other homes were like this, then the contribution from wind turbines would go much further and our fossil fuel dependence would be so much less ….. "
    November 26, 2012 a 7:10 pm

  • vince adams comments:
    "Same old arguments about WT’s. Please just look at the facts, they are efficient, payback their cost/carbon investment amazingly quickly, do not effect birds and they look beautiful.
    If people had taken the same approach in earlier centuries we would not have had some of the most efficient food producing installations ever: THE WINDMILL.
    I don’t want to see them in people’s backyards but in the right location they are a key part of our energy future.
    There are plenty of people who have far worse things to put up with including Nuclear, Gas Fired Power and soon Fracking sites. Do they get a choice and if they did how would you heat your own homes. Its time to think about all our neighbours.
    Be positive, eventually the future will be RENEWABLE. "

    November 26, 2012 a 3:49 pm

  • Marcus comments:
    "By the way, not knowing anyone in Dorset in the circle of people I know who has ever been asked by any one to fill in a survey regarding how they feel about wind turbines, I wonder at the information that most of us think the large turbines are a good thing. I am sorry if you find that a small minority of us, who dont think wind turbines are a good thing act as bullies, as a small minority I am surprised people are all that bothered, goodness me!
    Shall I tell you something, if wind turbines were efficient, if they did not potentially pose a health risk due to infrasound, if they were sited 2km minimum distance from peoples homes I would be the FIRST to be in favour of them! Unfortunately in these days of the internet, People have access to alot of information available globally regarding wind turbines there safety, the affect on peoples lives etc etc. and one cannot fail to be concerned, if I only read Greenpeace info. and other like minded infomation providers, I too would be ever so happy I am sure! But regretably, I have read alot of information that makes me genuinely very concerned. I think there are other ways of producing energy that do not create noise, are not visually intrusive, that do not risk damaging Dorsets tourist trade, do not produce infrasound etc. if photovoltaic technology was advanced so that the technology became cheaper, alot of people would choose to use solar power, how bout instead of the huge subsidies spent on wind turbines the money could be spent on cheapening Solar power! I am sorry if you only want people on this blog being for windpower, but if you make claims that the vast majority of us are for huge Windturbines, you are wrong. "

    November 25, 2012 a 8:01 pm

  • Marcus comments:
    "Ill informed people, hum, I think you would find that there is a lot of information out there, about the safety record of Windturbines, how the larger they get there more dangerous they are. The inefficiencys of them. The dangers to wildlife, bats and birds that has been vastly underestimated, and under reported, the noise pollution, the believed danger from Low frequency Noise which is believed to be causing the Wind turbine syndrome often reported by people dwelling near by to turbines. etc etc. We might say that people who are blindly in favour of wind turbines are ill informed, look on the internet, look at all the information available World wide, look to why it is the Germans are turning away from Wind power, why it is the Danish will only allow windfarms 2 kms away from dwellings etc etc…wonder why it is the so called minority are against windfarms. The Low frequency noise is an issue of great concern, Scientists who are neither for nor against wind farms are calling for more research, because it is feared that Low Frequency noise or infrasound can do real damage to the human brain, and physiology for the long term. Look at the research available, and think, if there is a risk, if there is a risk, do you really think we should blindly go on saying windfarms are a good thing. Do you think in years to come, when people have had their health irreversably damaged that we shall feel pleased with ourselves? Yes it’s all in the mind is nt it, that’s what the wind turbine companys would like you to think, but you look at the research! Its there, if you can be bothered. Have a look at the accident data, have a look at the film of wind turbines exploding! Listen to the noise they create, see the light flicker that blights people lives and makes roads dangerous! See the hollow faces of people whose lives have been ruined by having large scale windfarms placed by them……the information is out there, we are not idiots, we can read, have a look yourself, and wonder perhaps are we ill informed, also can I ask this finally, who is the one who profits from this, is it the minority objector? Or is the windfarm company who desperately tells you how efficient their windfarms will be etc etc. hum! "
    November 25, 2012 a 7:49 pm

  • Frederic comments:
    "A modest small rural home without gas which uses oil and woodburners for domestic heating and electricity solely for cooking, lighting and domestic appliances will use 8000-8500KW hours per year If your electricity bill is £80-100/month then you are that household using 1KW hour every hour of the year. So the turbines could power 3750 homes this is one quarter of the homes in the wholly inaccurate estimate of 14000 made by West Coast Energy. Even this is far from the true picture, at you peak daily usage you will require 10KW to power your lights cooker and kettle and so the whole industrial complex would power just 375 local homes. The populations of Tolpuddle are 360 and Puddletown 1220 to set this in a local context. .Is the noise, visual landscape destruction, intrusion on byways, damage to wildlife and the local tourism economy worth this paltry and unreliable power station.
    ….. i AM sorry, they are inefficient, fullstop. "

    November 25, 2012 a 7:38 pm

  • Vince comments:
    "I have just come back from the Silton Wind Farm enquiry this morning where a small number of ill-informed people are standing in the way of progress for the majority. It was so depressing and then to be sent The Guardian’s article extolling the case for Wind Turbines and their growing effect on our energy supply and reduction in carbon emissions was wonderful! Read the article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/sep/26/myth-wind-turbines-carbon-emissions.
    We at Dorset Energized aim for the truth, well researched facts that give proper advice to people here in Dorset regarding Renewable Energy.
    Be inspired by this latest report and share it with family and friends in the hope that more of us will understand the potential positive effect for all our futures. "

    September 26, 2012 a 12:50 pm

  • Wendy comments:
    "I understand that the Save our Silton group is upset about the visual impact of the possible wind turbines on their landscape, particularly being so close to them. However, in their protest, they really should stick to the facts. Wind turbines are neither inefficient nor useless. They are the most efficient way to generate renewable energy in our climate. They pay back the carbon of their installation in a matter of months. They should generate electricity 75% of the time. If you see wind turbines standing idle, it is most likely because there is too much electricity going into the grid at that moment, and turbines can be switched off at a flick of a switch, whereas conventional power stations take hours to power down and back up. I can’t imagine how on earth wind turbines would drive jobs away. They may or may not be ugly, and that is what the debate is really about. "
    September 25, 2012 a 9:28 am


21
SEP

Paul McIntosh says:
Eco Sustainable Solutions Anaerobic Digestion Open Day at Piddlehinton 26th September 2012


Category: Energy Events in Dorset
Tags: , , , , , ,


Eco Sustainable Solutions are having an open day next Wednesday 26th September 2012 at their new site in Piddlehinton, Dorset.

Anaerobic Digestion Open Day
Wednesday 26th September 2012, 2pm – 7pm
Eco AD Facility, Bourne Park, Piddlehinton, Dorchester, DT2 7TU

The site will be open to visitors  to give you an opportunity to see how the site operates. Tours will be available throughout the day and there will be an opportunity to talk to staff over light refreshments.

Please feel free to arrive when convenient, visitors will be coming and going throughout.

If you wish to attend, please contact them on their details below:

Rebecca Jones (Assistant Operations Manager)
Eco Sustainable Solutions ltd
Tel: 01202 593601
Web: www.thisiseco.co.uk



23
AUG

Simon Jonathan Naish Rayson says:
Are Renewable Energy Co-operatives the Way Forward?


Category: Renewable Energy, Solar Energy
Tags: , , , , ,


It’s interesting to see that one oft raised objection to commercial and larger scale Renewable Energy installations is one concerning profit. Perhaps understandably some find it to be a problem that wealthy and/or distant investors are making large profits from a Renewable Energy installation, though I must say that particular problem or issue had not occurred to me, but perhaps there is a way of addressing this problem by sharing the profits locally? For instance on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border there is a Solar Power installation which is seeking investors to join a Co-operative, a Co-operative that will reap the profits as well as the benefits of supporting clean and renewable energy.

There’s an interesting article about the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire Solar Power project on the Low Impact website here: http://www.lowimpact.org/blog/2012/Jul/you-can-be-part-owner-of-a-solar-power-plant.htm

Perhaps such a method of bringing Renewable Energy to an area might make it more palatable by being far more inclusive – and of course by demonstrating that just because Renewable Energy makes a profit that does not make the energy it produces somehow less clean.

One thing that often crops up when discussing Renewables is how the larger scale installations seem to be more readily accepted in the countries of, say, Northern Europe than they are here in the UK. Perhaps one reason for that acceptance is that in those countries people are used to having smaller conventionally fuelled Power Stations in their neighbourhoods and towns – often these Power Stations providing piped hot water as well as electricity. Here in the UK we are used to (& generally expect) our power generation to be large scale and remote from where most of us live – perhaps then accepting local larger scale Renewable Energy plants (Solar, Wind, etc) for us in the UK is a bit more challenging than it is for our continental neighbours used, as I say, to having local coal or gas fuelled Power Stations? Could be that this extra level of unfamiliarity might be one further reason for the oft expressed reluctance to embrace Renewable Energy, it being a steeper learning curve, so to speak?

Let us know your thoughts!


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • CheaperGasEnergy comments:
    "I suppose many people may have not been properly educated on how they can use renewable energy. Some people that have had solar panels installed are making some money back. It really can be a good way to make money and save on energy bills. "
    August 28, 2012 a 4:04 pm

  • Paul McIntosh comments:
    "yes, yes, yes!
    Why is it those on the continent are more comftorble with sharing the wealth and in turn taking collective responsability. Perhaps the Germans can help (below is taken from the Low Carbon Communities Network Newsletter) German-British Parliamentary initiative in sharing lessons in Community Energy The success of Germany’s 600-plus locally accountable co-operatives in green energy carries inspiration, plus important lessons, for us here in the UK. In this International Year of Co-operatives, co-operatives now provide 13 per cent of Germany’s electricity, itself a market double the size of ours. Central to Germany’s success in energy co-operatives is wide support across the entire political spectrum for community energy, in national and in local politics, as well as in civil administration. LCCN committee member Alban Thurston is launching a freelance Parliamentary initiative, aiming to link pro-renewables Conservative parliamentarians in the Bundestag with their less numerous brothers & sisters on Conservative benches at Westminster. The goal would be a ‘trickle down’, strengthening the will of the minority of pro-renewables British Conservative MPs to convince the vocal opponents within their own party, through close experience of the electoral and social success achieved by the equivalents in Germany. Launched only as Parliament rose for the summer, the initiative, dubbed ‘Projekt Sonnenschein’ has attracted interest from leading pro-renewables Conservatives such as Tim Yeo, Zac Goldsmith, and Martin Vickers. Alban is working with the Bundestag office of Josef Goeppel, spokesman on energy collectives in Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU party. One or more briefings in Westminster are planned in October, where Goeppel will spell out to British Conservatives how right-of-centre politicians should be embracing in their planning, financing and civil policies the benefits of democratised, locally accountable energy. Drawing on his 10 year advocacy of energy co-operatives, Goeppel recently sent the UK think tank ResPublica his message of support for democratised energy in the UK. In it, he said: “The most successful way of letting many people participate in energy production is through community energy co-operatives. They allow the broader public to share in the profits of energy production…In addition they foster responsible energy consumption”. "

    August 24, 2012 a 2:39 pm


29
JUN

Anna Celeste Watson says:
Dorset Energized at the Lush Fest 7th & 8th July in Poole


Category: Energy Events in Dorset
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Lushfest 2012 (A fresh handmade festival!)
Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th July
Village Hall, Holton Lee, Poole, Dorset 

Lush, one of my favourite ethical companies, and makers of yummy fresh handmade cosmetics (www.lush.co.uk), have a week long festival for their company at Holton Lee in Poole, which culminates in a weekend fest for everyone – staff, families, suppliers – everyone welcome!

The weekend fest will feature wonderful Lush products, the Lush Spa, an amazing line up of music, comedy, talks and discussions, as well as the very best in food and drink. The venue is designed to help people escape from the everyday stresses of life; a space for personal growth through access to the arts and the natural environment. Holton Lee occupies a beautiful and varied natural landscape providing opportunities for space and stillness as well as an engagement with nature.

There will also be a Renewable Energy Stand where some of the Dorset Energized team, and other local green organisations, can answer all your questions on renewable energy – from solar energy, wind power, wood energy to electric transport – and can give you tips on energy efficiency for your home, business or community. There may also be the chance to check out Vince’s Nissan LEAF too!

Check out the fantastic Lush Fest website for more details: www.lushfest2012.co.uk.



19
JUN

Vince Adams says:
Dorset Energized at the Sturminster Newton Show Saturday 23rd June


Category: Energy Events in Dorset
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Come and say hi to the Dorset Energized team at the Sturminster Newton Show, where we’ll have our Nissan LEAF, solar panels, heat pumps, and will be running a questionnaire to assess the local feelings and requirements of Renewable Energy.

Sturminster Newton Show
Saturday 23rd June 2012, 10am – 6pm
Sturminster Newton Recreation Ground, Ricketts Lane 

This is a great family day out with vintage cars and vehicles.
Displays by Stur Steppers Sturminster Newton Majorettes, Zumba, Dog Agility, High School Samba Band and many more. Craft stalls, Refreshments and Beer…
There’s also a tent and plenty to entertain the children!

Entrance: £2 adults; 50p children

We hope to see you there!



19
JUN

Vince Adams says:
Bridport Renewable Energy Group Meeting


Category: Energy Events in Dorset
Tags: , , , ,


Last night I attended a Bridport Renewable Energy Group meeting at the new Core Showroom Centre art Bradpole just outside Bridport.

The meeting was extremely interesting as we were shown around the Centre by Dan a knowledgeable and likable young man in full command of his subject. I for one was amazed at the vast array of renewable equipment that is now available from Solar, Solar Thermal through to all kinds of Heat Pumps and on into bio-mass. The new equipment looks really sexy in its shiny new colours and will be quite a feature wherever it is installed.

The BREG people all showed their interest in everything and many were already running important schemes of their own. The new Biomass project at Pat’s field for example will go live very soon and give Pat and her visitors a constant supply of hot water.

Richard Toft their Chairman speaks softly and well and has a delicate hand on the tiller.

Lucy the wife of the founder needs everyone’s thanks for hosting the event and I for one will be going back to look more closely at one or two of the items and hear the infectious enthusiasm of Lucy and her staff for the New World that is Renewables.

Thanks for a great nigh, plus I got back home in my Nissan LEAF with 25 miles spare energy, wow!



15
JUN

Anna Celeste Watson says:
Join the Rio Connection! Rio+20 Earth Summit


Category: Renewable Energy Film/Video, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , ,


The Rio Connection – 16th-22nd June 2012

This summer, 20 years on from the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, government representatives from around the world will meet at a ‘Rio+20’ summit to discuss sustainable development.

Over the past two years, as part of the African and Big Climate Connection, local groups around the UK have been building up connections with each other through lobbying their MPs. The Rio Connection will be a chance to build on this grassroots movement.

Local networks will hold Rio-themed events with their MPs (or their MSPs in Scotland/ AMs in Wales), ranging from simple lobby meetings, to themed football tournaments and local carnivals!

These events will connect global and national sustainability issues with those in their community, inspire new people to talk about sustainability, and encourage our politicians to sign up to a sustainable future.

Check out their inspiring video and for more information visit www.stopclimatechaos.org/rio-connection.

UPDATE 27th June 2012:

“Please tell us what you thought of 2012’s Earth Summit in Rio which has been described as a shambles! Here’s a couple of links to recent news articles: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/rio-20-earth-summit and http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/ngo-views-rio20-the-good-the-bad-and-the-invisible.



31
MAY

Theresa McManus says:
Ensure your own energy security by using & producing your own renewable energy


Category: Renewable Energy
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Catherine Mitchell has recently written a really powerful article published in the Guardian, which is critical of the UK’s energy policy. The article Who is in charge of Britain’s energy policy? claims that “Intense lobbying by energy companies and government misinformation is creating genuine uncertainty about who has overall control”. It is cause for concern, but effectively emphasises the need for people to take their own steps to avoid possible future price hikes and to make their own low-carbon choices.

Read her  full article here: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/28/britain-energy-politics

For more ideas and inspiration from local people who are using renewable energy check out our ‘Dorset Energy Stories’ at www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/archives/category/dorset-energy-stories and visit our Renewable Energy section on this website to see what is available and to take the next step: www.letsgetenergized.co.uk/energy.

As always, if you have any queries you can comment here on this blog post, or talk to me or one of my colleagues at the Dorset Energy Advice Centre on 0800 975 0166 for some free advice.


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Peter Bywater comments:
    "Another article in the Guardian a few months ago pointed out that the renewables industry gets a constant bad press and most of that bad press is completely void of fact. It was pointed out that in terms of subsidies we pay for energy through our fuel bills, we pay up to around £350 per year to subsidise nuclear power and only around £60 for renewables. In fact with the new cut in the wind + hydro subsidy that will be down to £55 next year. "
    July 31, 2012 a 9:02 pm


01
MAY

Vince Adams says:
Stoneham Green Open House in Southampton


Category: Energy Events in Dorset
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Radian have announced that its Stoneham Green Open House sessions have now launched.

This carbon neutral development of eleven family homes in Southampton is one of the few in the country aiming to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6. These sessions are a unique opportunity to listen to presentations from key members of the project team with an opportunity to review lessons learnt.

The confirmed remaining 2012 dates for the sessions are as follows:

  • 2nd May 14.00-17.00
  • 9th May 14.00-17.00
  • 16th May 14.00-17.00

Please note that spaces are limited to 20 people per session and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you are interested in attending please email stonehamgreen@radian.co.uk or contact Gavin Board on 023 80628361.



27
APR

Vince Adams says:
Its Official: The Dorset Energized Website is LIVE!


Category: Dorset Energized News
Tags: , , , ,


Following the initial launch of our micro-site and blog for Climate Week in March, the full Dorset Energized website is now officially up and running for Spring 2012!

I am very pleased to be associated with Dorset Energized and the launch of this new website campaign. We hope to get all people in Dorset introduced to the idea of creating and using Renewable Energy over the coming years.

This move to Renewable Energy is important as the cost and decline of oil supplies begins to impact on us all. We want to help the general public to understand and make informed decisions about their own requirements. We want to influence communities to create their own local projects and gain the support of the Dorset business community in embracing the need to go Renewable at every opportunity.

So the time is now… let’s Energize the County of Dorset and it’s people!

Please do comment, make suggestions, send us your stories and experiences and above all feel that this is YOUR website and project for the future – we want to know what YOU want!



26
APR

Guest Energizer says:
Green Bus extends tour of the South


Category: Energy Efficiency, Energy Events in Dorset, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , ,


The Green Energy Centre in Dorset’s famous Green Bus has announced new dates for their continued tour of the South. Having appeared at numerous shows including The Greener Living Show and following an immensely successful 2011, The Green Bus has recently embarked on an even more extensive tour of Dorset and Hampshire this year.

The Bus, a brainchild of Green Energy Centre – a part of The Warmer Group – in Dorset, allows people to discover the importance of green energy in a fun and informal way. The buses have been fully fitted out with green energy related equipment including ground source heat pumps, solar panels running live heating systems and energy saving lighting.

Managing Director of The Warmer Group, said: “We are delighted to announce new dates for the Green Bus. It is a fantastic showcase for us to show what is possible to achieve with renewable, greener energies. Our presence at these venues will contribute to giving people a really hands-on, interactive look at the sort of things they can be doing in their own homes to join to the Green revolution.”

The Green Bus dates for 2012 include:

25th and 26th April – Asda Poole
4th June – Green Community Fair Poole
24th – 26th July – The New Forest & Hampshire County Show
23rd August – The Melplash Show
1st & 2nd September – The Dorset County Show
8th September – The Romsey Show

Many others are constantly being added to this schedule along the way.

The Green Bus will also be making a star appearance at this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival, as well as at the Alton and North East Hants Show.

For more information, or if you’d like The Green Bus to visit your area, visit www.thewarmergroup.co.uk or call them on 01202 897273.

Posted by Darren Northeast



26
APR

Beverley Satchell says:
Fuel Crisis… So What?


Category: Electric Transport, Fuel Poverty & Security
Tags: , , , , ,


With the talks of ‘fuel strikes’ to take place all over the country, we found this the perfect opportunity to promote the Nissan LEAF. With the Nissan LEAF being 100% electric, fuel buyer’s curiosity was going to be aroused. The realisation also became clear that we do rely too much on fossil fuels, and it’s not going to be in constant supply forever.

While people were wasting their time, queuing up at petrol stations, I was happily driving around in my Nissan LEAF that I had charged up at work. There was something quite satisfying about driving past those packed petrol stations, knowing the only reason I would have to go anywhere near a petrol station, was just to use the shop!

We did get more customers come in to our show room as a result, phoning up and asking for more information or to test drive the Nissan LEAF. The ‘fuel crisis…..so what?’ ad in the newspaper definitely stirred up a lot of interest. It was nice to see all the electric car doubters finally show a bit of interest.

Visit our website on www.fjchalke.co.uk/eco.



25
APR

Paul McIntosh says:
BBC Say the Public Back Wind Farm Subsidies


Category: Wind Power
Tags: , , , , , ,


I was very encouraged by a story in the BBC yesterday, which shows support not only for subsidies but also for wind energy technologies.

More Britons than not regard subsidies for wind power development as a good deal, according to a survey commissioned by trade body RenewableUK, the Ipsos-Mori poll found that 43% see the UK subsidy as good value for money against 18% who do not.

Check out the full article on: www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17783604.

As with all development, there needs to be site specific work to make sure that wind turbines do not interfere with wildlife.

Aft to contrast with the landing of Canadian Geese in a Tar Sands pool…



24
APR

Keith Wheaton-Green says:
My Solar PV Installation


Category: Solar Energy
Tags: , , , , ,


Even when we moved into our house in Hazelbury Bryan in 1989 I knew I would one day put some photovoltaic panels on the roof. It’s a nice simple roof and near perfect south facing. In fact is southerly orientation is one of the main reasons we like the house. It always feels light and sunny (weather permitting.) However, my wife is very pragmatic, we’ve never been rich and the cost of the panels has been just too high. When I checked the first time in 1999 they had a 50 year pay back! So it was a no.

Then during a pleasant drunken session at my local pub one evening during 2010, I persuaded a fellow village mate that he could benefit from a career change to become a PV salesman because I reckoned (beware of people who reckon something!) that the new feed in tariff that the government were introducing would lead to massive growth of that industry. I have to admit to being very surprised to discover a few months later, that he had taken me seriously and had become very busy with what he described as “consultative salesmanship” at a series of home visits and surveys.

I felt obliged to allow him to quote for a 4 kW PV array on our roof. He told me he’d give me a good deal (as they do.) I got a couple of other quotes and “negotiated” a bit. Even my wife now thought the financials looked good. £15,000 for a 4 kW 16 panel top of the range (18% efficient) Sanyo system. The returns were estimated to be a total of £1.870 from the feed in tariff, lower electricity bills and electrical export to our electricity supplier from the 3,700 kWh our system was expected to generate. That’s an eight year payback and a 12.4% return in the first year!

We had various bits of savings, none of them earning more than 3.5 % after tax (and some a lot less!). So we bit the bullet and had the panels installed on 22nd June 2011. As of 18th April 2012 we have generated 3,240 kWh and received 2 cheques from our electricity supply company for the first 6 months totalling £943. We still have a bit of April, May and most of June to go before it will have been in for a year so I think we will comfortably exceed the predicted generation. I reckon (I do a lot of reckoning) that our end of year generation will be around 4,100 kWh. That will be worth £2,120 giving us a 14% return and a 7 year payback.

However, I was miffed to discover that if I purchased the same system today it would cost us just £8,000! But then you have probably heard that the government have dropped the tariff rate by half to 21p/kWh. That would be giving me a 14.9% return. So not much change. The good news for us is that once you have installed, your tariff rate goes up by inflation each year (for us it is 45.4p/kWh from 1st April 2012), so up goes the rate of return and down comes the payback period. Any increases in electricity prices make it even better (sort of!)


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • James McKenzy comments:
    "Hello I think that your blog is very nice! "
    August 29, 2012 a 7:12 am


24
APR

Lets Get Energized says:
Blandford Forum Parish Centre Incorporates Renewable Energy Systems


Category: Energy Efficiency, Heat Pumps
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


The Blandford Forum Parochial Church was redesigned as a Community Centre to have a low environmental/carbon footprint. It incorporates renewable energy systems (ground source heat pump and solar collectors), environmentally friendly building materials and low energy/water consumption features. Intention is to showcase best practice to encourage others to incorporate these features into new build/refurbishments projects.

Nature of Project
The much loved, much used Victorian pre-fabricated Church Hall which served the community of Blandford for over 100 years became disused, dilapidated and beyond economic repair. The Hall Steering Group (HSG) gained planning permission to replace the existing structure with a new, purpose built, environmentally friendly facility which would be available 7 days a week throughout the year for the community to use. No such facility existed in Blandford.

The Blandford Forum Parochial Church Council (BFPCC) and HSG were very keen to ensure that the new building should have as low an environmental/carbon footprint as possible. The building was specifically designed to reduce its environmental impact in terms of its construction and operation and will demonstrate to the local and wider community what can be achieved in terms of sustainable construction.

The building is constructed using structured insulated panels, triple glazed widows and double glazed doors with low emissivity glass. This makes the building very thermally efficient thus making it ideal to heat with low grade heat from the ground which is heated by the sun. Space and water heating requirements are provided by a ground source heat pump and solar hot water collectors. The building also has energy efficient lighting, waterless urinals and no-touch, low water consumption taps and toilet flushing. The exterior timber cladding, windows and doors were sourced from FSC certified forests whilst environmentally friendly Bamboo and Altro were specified for the flooring. We also used local tradesman and specialists on the project, John Turnbull Architect, Jack Wiles Quantity Surveyor, RB Snook Building Contractors, Microgeneration – ground source heat pump, Rayotech Solar Shading, Build It Green – wall panels, Bullivents – beam and block floor, Fusion Electrics.

There were no known examples of green church/community halls in the local area. Our intention was to promote the project widely as a case study to encourage the further take up of best environmental practice by others involved in the construction and renovation of community buildings/church halls, churches, church maintained schools and other community and church associated buildings throughout the country. We also hope to encourage those using these buildings to take action to improve their environment and to consider incorporating these features into their own homes and businesses.

Approach
Members of the HSG researched what had been done elsewhere to make buildings more environmentally friendly/sustainable. A checklist was produced which the group worked through to see what could be incorporated into the new building within the constraints of the budget and with the site itself. For example, rainwater harvesting was ruled out because of extensive tree roots from listed trees; the shade from these trees also ruled out the use of photovoltaic panels.

Some of the “green technology” was unfamiliar to the group e.g. the ground source heat pump. However, they showed great faith and, despite a few technical glitches with commissioning, are pleased with the results. We think it is fair to say that by stipulating a list of “green requirements” for the building, all those involved with the building e.g. architect, quantity surveyor, builders, tradesmen have all gained from the experience of seeing them being successfully incorporated into this sort of building project.

Community Involvement
They consulted widely with the community and existing/potential user groups to ensure that the building was designed to meet their current and future needs. They received many expressions of interest from numerous children and youth groups, community groups such as The University of the Third Age, The Civic Society, Playgroups, and public bodies such the Environmental Agency and the Town and District Councils. Indeed Local businesses and community groups were particularly interested in holding their meetings and training events in such an environmentally friendly venue which would in turn help them to cut their own carbon footprint.

For more information visit www.bfpc.org.uk.

This story was provided by Sustainable Dorset, the website for DA21: www.sustainabledorset.org.uk/community-energy.



Lets Get Energized with Renewable Energy!

Lets Get Energized is your online guide to renewable energy and sustainable living with the latest news, views and tips plus exclusive special offers to help you save energy and money, beat rising energy prices, combat climate change and be more self sufficient – right now, and for your future...

READ ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY

ENJOY EXCLUSIVE OFFERS,
NEWS + ENERGY SAVING TIPS:

CONGRATS TO OUR SUMMER E-BIKE HIRE WINNER: CLARE WEBB*

*This competition is now closed but you can still enter for the chance to win future competitions!

No Thanks - Hide This Pop-up