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Paul McIntosh says:
Dorset Community Energy share offer launch

Category: Community Energy, Dorset Energized News, Solar Energy, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Dorset Community Energy launched the first community investment share offer in Dorset at the Wessex Royale Hotel, Dorchester on Friday 5th June. The offer will be open for 1 month between June 5th and July 4th, and provides local communities with the opportunity to collectively own high-tech PV solar panels. The development of the Dorset Community Energy solar panels scheme has been supported by the Big Lottery Communities Living Sustainably in Dorset programme.

The aim of the share offer is to raise £135,000 to fund 6 solar panel installations on 3 schools and 3 village halls in the Dorchester and Bridport area. The 3 village halls (Martinstown, Osmington and Salway Ash) have recently been installed with solar panels using a short-term bridging loan, while the 3 proposed school installations are scheduled in August. It is hoped that all 6 installations will be fully operational by Autumn 2015.

Local community members are invited to invest in shares, each at a value of £1. The minimum investment is £100 and the maximum £10,000. All shareholders will become members of the Community Benefit Society, which will oversee the 6 installations and ensure their long-term sustainability.

It was noted on Friday that membership makes both environmental and financial sense. The solar panels will produce low-carbon, free-of-charge electricity to each of the 6 buildings, with any surplus going to the national grid. It is estimated the energy created from these panels will displace the equivalent of 42 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and provide approximately £200,000 of free electricity to the combined 6 sites over a period of 20 years.

Dorset Community Energy has applied for Advanced Assurance for the Government’s ‘Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme’ (SEIS) tax relief, meaning that taxpaying members have potential to claim back 50% of their investment as tax relief. Upon considering interest and capital repayment, the internal rate of return (IRR) is projected to be 6.3% over a 20-year period, and 13.8% with SEIS.

However prospective members should consider membership a long-term investment and are advised to read the Share Offer document available on the website in full and take independent financial advice before making an investment.

Directors Derek Moss and Tom Burnett

Directors Derek Moss and Tom Burnett


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "Hi, I hope you all get behind this offer to create real community energy projects in South and West Dorset. For those of you based in North Dorset and the Stur Valley we have our own community energy team come on lets get going and follow the lead of Dorset Community Energy. "
    June 12, 2015 a 8:16 pm


Paul McIntosh says:
Springhead Trust holds Opportunities in Community Energy Event

Category: Energy Events in Dorset, Sustainable Energy Stories

Over 30 representatives of Town and Parish Councils, Neighbourhood planning groups and other interested individuals attended a seminar to learn more about the potential benefits of renewable energy to their communities. The free half-day seminar received presentations from Dorset County Council, Good Energy, RegenSW and local company Community Heat and Power.

GV_Three Hu_GE_One PW_HH_Two

Renewable technologies can benefit community buildings or schools by providing an income through incentive schemes and cheaper energy. Also, by raising finance locally investors can contribute to the development of their assets whilst getting a good return on their money.

Paul McIntosh, Sustainability Officer for North Dorset District Council who organised the event said

“We had a packed room at the Springhead Trust today which shows the amount of interest there is impartial information in this developing area. The District Council is keen to support projects which are community led and where the benefits, social, environmental and economic are retained locally”

“I would like to thank both those who attended and those who presented for what was a very energising day. We choose the Springhead Trust as a venue due to their commitment to Sustainability and a planned project to install ground mounted PV and Micro Hydro renewable energy systems – the finance they hope to raise from the local community”

Delegates learnt about how communities can also negotiate with developers to maximise benefits for the community.

For more information and presentations from the day please contact Paul McIntosh, Sustainability Officer at North Dorset District Council on 01258 484019.

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Julian Brooks comments:
    "This was a great event and very encouraging to have had a full house. What would be really useful though is some feedback from the attendeees 3 months on as to how they are getting on with their communities and discussions around energy, have any gone as far as starting a project group? "
    September 29, 2014 a 8:56 am


Paul McIntosh says:
Opportunities in Renewable Energy for Communities

Category: Energy Events in Dorset
Tags: , ,

Opportunities in Renewable Energy for Communities

We have been asked by North Dorset District Council to help publicize a free seminar they are holding on the 9th of June – we are happy to assist as the aim of the seminar is to inform and encourage local councils to make more use of renewable energy – Energizing Dorset

See the official press release below for more information:

Renewable Energy Benefits

Find out about the benefits of renewable energy at a seminar organised by North Dorset District Council at the Springhead Trust, Fontmell Magna on Monday 9 June.

This free half-day seminar titled ‘Opportunities in Renewable Energy’ will inform Town and Parish Councillors, Neighborhood Planning Groups and others about how they can benefit from renewable energy technologies.

Renewable technologies can benefit community buildings or schools by providing an income through incentive schemes and cheaper energy. Also, by raising finance locally investors can contribute to the development of their assets whilst getting a good return on their money.

Delegates will learn about commercial schemes and how communities can negotiate with developers. They will also learn about best practice elsewhere in the country.

Presentations will be given by Dorset County Council, local company Community Heat & Power and regional support organisations.

For more information and to book a place, go to: or contact Paul McIntosh, Sustainability Officer at North Dorset District Council on 01258 484019.

The publicity “flyer” for the event can be downloaded here: Opportunities_renewable_energy_2014

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "This initiative by NDDC is most welcomed as a push for those of us interested in creating and opening Community Renewable Projects. Clearly with so much to learn small groups like Stur Valley Energy and its IPS can benefit from help and assistance in insuring that there projects gather momentum and support from planners/authorities and in people in general.
    Clearly communities can benefit greatly from the whole notion of working together and we believe that anything is possible and will eventually ease the burden of rising energy costs and tackle some of the causes of climate change.
    Support Paul and his work at NDDC by attending the Seminar. "

    May 25, 2014 a 9:32 am


Paul McIntosh says:
Rebuttal to skeptics view on the Blandford Hill Wind proposal

Category: Dorset Energized News, Wind Power

It is interesting to see that even at this early stage in the planning process the anti-renewables activists are already using the same tactics of misinformation and scaremongering that we have come to expect. If I could deal with specifics:

In the article it states that speakers asked if “the noise from wind turbines 250m away was comparable with that from a busy main road outside a home.” Obviously the noise from a main road varies according to the time of day, the road surface and the speed of the traffic but generally speaking I believe on the basis of visiting several large wind farms that the answer to that question is that a road such as the A354 through Winterborne Whitechurch is far more of an issue than 4 wind turbines such as suggested for Blandford Hill. However the more important point is that the question might lead you to believe that the turbines are intended to be sited within 250m of the village. Having looked at the maps of the site the nearest of the turbines is about 1000m from the nearest edge of the village at which distance the turbines will be to all intents and purposes inaudible over the road and wind noise (wind turbines only produce noise when the wind blows and even then modern, well designed turbines do not waste valuable energy by making much noise at all).

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines

Dark mention is made of “health risks of noise and shadow flicker”. There is no reasonable evidence of health implications from noise or shadow flicker or any other aspect of the operation of wind turbines especially at the sort of separation distances involved. The noise is no threat whatsoever and whilst flicker can be an issue of annoyance more than health risk at closer distances, firstly you would have to be much closer to the turbines than any houses are proposed to be for it to be a genuine concern and secondly flicker only occurs when the sun is a) shining, b) at a very specific angle and c) at a specific time of day so it is perfectly possible to program turbines not to function during those few minutes each year if there is a property for which it actually is a problem. What is a health risk however is the very real issues of negative placebo effects generated by anti-wind turbine activists spreading false tales of dire threats to local residents’ health.

An LSE draft report was cited which it was claimed said that wind turbines caused an 11% drop in house values for properties within 1.2 miles. This is no doubt based on the partial coverage given to the report by the Telegraph and the Daily Mail both of which fail to mention that the report suggests such a level of value reduction only if there are more than 20 turbines within 2km (1.2 miles) of the property under consideration. As wind turbines have to spaced out to work properly the only way of getting that many turbines within 1.2 miles of your house would be to have the nearest one practically in your back garden! Again it comes down to the fact that only 4 turbines are proposed for Blandford Hill and they are all about 1km or more from the village. There have been many studies of property prices and some show a small decrease in house values, some no effect whatsoever and some even suggest an increase in value. It is fact surprizing that there isn’t more of an effect given the false propaganda peddled at every opportunity by the anti-renewables lobby and the fact that there isn’t is largely due, in my opinion, to the fact that more and more people are seeing first hand that wind turbines are not the spawn of the Devil and don’t wreck communities wherever they appear.

What there will be is some period of planning blight which will be made much worse by people going around falsely saying that the Winterbornes will be impossible to live in if turbines are built and dragging the whole process out for years to come.

“Mr Turner described the offer (£30,000 community funding by REG per year) as essentially a “form of bribe”” says the article. This is true but it is not, as implied, a bribe to put up with horrible, non-existent, downsides of wind turbines but a bribe to make people ignore the scare stories of the opposition. It would be far better if wind turbines could be built more with genuine community investment and ownership giving even higher returns to local economies but as long as the hysterical anti-wind turbine lobby make it such a divisive issue it will only be the thick skinned big business enterprises that can see things through to giving us the renewable energy capacity we need for the coming century.

Finally, we have the old chestnut of the “unreliable nature of wind energy.” There is no energy strategy that could eliminate the need for reserve capacity because demand is far more variable than the output of wind or any other source of supply (The Coronation Street kettle boiling effect). Large, centralised plant like nuclear and

cows and wind

cows and wind

coal occasionally suffer unexpected failures leaving far bigger holes in our electricity supply than any unexpected change in wind strength. Experience in Germany has shown that oft predicted problems in system balancing are proving less of a problem than expected due to the fact that the system is already set up to cope with variations in supply and demand and the fact that geographical dispersion and mutually balancing technologies like wind and solar make for a much more even renewables output than expected. We could increase our renewables penetration by a factor of about 3 before we reached the levels seen in Germany. Eventually we will need to invest in storage, demand side management and other techniques to modify our grid for the new century but we can build many more wind farms the size of Blandford Hill before this is a real issue.

To conclude the sites at Blandford Hill and near to Tolpuddle (although it’s not nearly as near as the protesters make out)are good sites for wind turbines in the sorts of numbers proposed. They will make a significant contribution to the energy needs of our county and the local economy and most important of all will not ruin local lives. We have no choice but to get away from our reliance on fossil fuels for many reasons and wind turbines remain one of the best ways we have of doing so.


Paul McIntosh says:
Dorset Energized partners hold Energy Fair in Dorchester

Category: Community Energy, Dorset Energized News, Energy Events in Dorset

Dorset Energized partners came together for an informative public exhibition and forum at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester. Members of the public took the opportunity to discuss renewable energy technologies with the installers present and also to quiz representatives from the proposed Winterbourne Stickland and Charminster wind farm proposals from REG Energy and Broadview respectively.

Dorset Energized Renewable Energy Forum

Attendees debate the issues at the renewable energy forum event

Vince Adams – Chair of Dorset Energized said “We had an excellent range of first class exhibitors and speakers for the 1st Dorchester Renewable Energy Exhibition and Forum and we have given ourselves the platform to really move forward and begin to achieve our objective of engaging the people of Dorset with the Wonderful World of Renewables”

Amongst the days activities there was an unexpected opportunity to lobby the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for West Dorset, see the latest in electric bikes and vehicles – both stationary and moving – as well as take part in some vigorous discussion around promoting renewables, the merits of the various technologies and issues of community investment and involvement.

The UKIP delegation were in the Town and Vince took this opportunity to debate with them the merits of renewables

The UKIP delegation were in the Town and Vince took this opportunity to debate with them the merits of renewables

Dorset Energized is looking forward to organising another event in partnership with the Communities Living Sustainably Project at the Dorset County Show in September.

For copies of the presentations given at the forum event please follow this link to the da21 website report – where they can be downloaded in pdf format.


Paul McIntosh says:
Floody Hell! How Michael fish warns Dorset weather to get worse & cannot be stopped

Category: Climate Change, Energy Events in Dorset

Britain’s favourite forecaster, weatherman Michael Fish, will give a dire warning to Dorset next month – years of even worse weather are on the way and we’re helpless to stop it.

Mr Fish, who became a national icon through his forecasts on the BBC, is to spearhead a grim reality check on future weather for Dorset’s Climate Week [March 1st-6th].

Pulling no punches, Mr Fish is to deliver a lecture at the Dorchester Corn Exchange on Monday March 3rd entitled ‘Climate Change – The Ultimate Weapon Of Mass Destruction’.  The weather expert who spent 42 years with the Meteorological Office is bound to shake up climate change doubters with his informed view.

‘There could be much more severe weather and floods in the UK. It is too late to do more than slow it,’ Mr Fish warned bluntly this week.

He added: ‘The weird weather has already been responsible for possibly millions of deaths and many more will occur, through floods, droughts, disease and famine.”

Although authorities are only recently waking up to the problems of climate change, Mr Fish said the weather has been known to be worsening for more than 40 years.

‘The basics were identified in the 1880s, the severity in the 1970s,’ he said.

And he gave no hope of things getting better for the storm-bashed West Country, forecasting a bleak future of sodden winters and scorched summers.

‘The South West can expect more floods and droughts,’ said Mr Fish, ‘The only advantage will be a longer growing season.’

Supporting Mr Fish’s forecast that the effects of climate change may be slowed, Dorset’s Communities Living Sustainably in Dorset group, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, has organised a week of events aimed at inspiring a new wave of local initiatives against the weather threat.

On Saturday March 1st the programme will kick off at Litton and Thorner’s Community Hall, Litton Cheney, with a planning conference on strengthening local food links in West Dorset. Speakers including Tom Andrews of the new national Sustainable Food Cities Programme and Traci Lewis from Foods Plymouth will share their experiences and advice for putting food at the heart of the local policy agenda.

On March 3rd in Dorchester, Mr Fish will be joined by writer and poet Matt Harvey, who will present his view on sustainable energy.

On March 5th Bridport pupils will meet with the CLS to discuss ideas for preparing for extreme weather and tackling climate change. On the same day in schools in and around Dorchester the CLS will celebrate their work on litter meet with pupils and launch a two-year initiative to lessen environmental impact and encourage environmental leadership in students.

On Thursday March 6th the Bridport Arts Centre will host a Focus On Energy film day, which will include movies on the evidence of climate change, energy efficiency in the home and a documentary with contributions from more than 50 politicians, scientists and environmental campaigners on the state of the planet and how to save it.

Free tickets for Michael Fish’s lecture and other events can be booked at

For more information on Climate Week 2014, the UK’s biggest campaign to promote action on climate change, go to


Paul McIntosh says:
Tolpuddle Wind Farm Public Exhibition on 13th February 2014

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

West Coast Energy are holding a public exhibition where an updated proposal for a five turbine wind farm on land near Tolpuddle, north east of Dorchester, will be presented.

Thursday 13th February 2014
Tolpuddle Village Hall, 3pm-8pm

The exhibition for the West Dorset Wind Farm proposal is being held to give the local community an insight into the updated proposed development. This is a public event open for attendance by anyone. At the public exhibition you will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal, ask questions and put forward your views to the West Coast Energy project team.

For further information contact Matt Hayes on 01352 757604 or Euan Philipps, Marketing and Communications Manager at West Coast Energy Ltd, by email on or visit their website at:


Paul McIntosh says:
North Dorset ecohomes project is looking for ecohomes!

Category: Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Renewable Energy
Tags: ,


The first free Eco-homes event in North Dorset will take place on the weekend of 17/18 May 2014 to showcase energy efficient homes and offices in the District.

North Dorset District Council has received support from the Centre for Sustainable Energy to run the event.

We are asking for those householders and companies who have installed energy efficiency, renewable energy and other environmental improvements in their homes and offices to share their experience with those who wish to improve their own properties. There are many who have invested in improving the environmental performance of their properties and offices – with energy prices rising this is an opportunity to share experiences to the benefit of the local community and show off your work!

The project is aiming to have 25 homes, community buildings and other environmental projects in North Dorset available to visit over the weekend. With increasing concerns over fuel poverty, rising energy costs and wider environmental issues the project will aim to demonstrate, even in older properties, what can be done to address all three concerns.

Householders interested in taking part in the scheme are being asked to register their details online by going to

and filling out some basic information. The project will close for entries at the end of February 2014 when a website and booklet will be produced to showcase the event.

Bridgett Newberry, Project Manager for the Bristol-based Centre for Sustainable Energy, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting this initiative in North Dorset which joins a long list of communities who are undertaking similar green open homes projects. Our research shows that both homeowners and visitors alike benefit from the sharing of experience and expertise on making homes warmer and more efficient.”

For more information contact me, Paul McIntosh, Sustainability Officer for North Dorset District Council, on 01258 484019 or email

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • AmberGreen Solar Panels comments:
    "It’s great to see that renewable energy is being embraced in North Dorset. Hopefully the rest of the country will follow suit. "
    January 14, 2014 a 11:01 am


Paul McIntosh says:
Free information events on keeping warm this winter

Category: Energy Events in Dorset, Fuel Poverty & Security

Dorset Community Action are holding a series of Fuel Poverty Workshops in January. The workshops will be held in Lyme Regis on the 14th and the 29th in Sherborne. The workshops are being supported by Dorset Energy Advice Centre and Magna Housing Association amongst others.




Paul McIntosh says:
Addressing health through energy efficiency pays

Category: Energy Efficiency, Fuel Poverty & Security, Green Deal

Excess Winter Deaths claimed an estimated 24,000 lives in England and Wales in 2011/12 and, although we do not fully understand all the reasons behind these figures, we know that some of them are caused by people living in cold homes.

Recent research by the Department of Climate Change has started to quantify the health benefits of installing energy efficiency measures in improving thermal comfort of homes. In a resource stretched environment unfortunately health issues often come down to basic cost/benefit analysis – and for that you require research and figures.

However initial research is very positive for energy efficiency measures impact on health.  DECCs research has suggest that installing Cavity wall insulation has a financial benefit of £969 NPV (net present value) which, considering the average cost of this measure is generally about £500, indicates a good investment overall. Therefore saving money for public services which are providing healthcare.

Also an interesting new term for the author is ‘quality-adjusted life years’ – which is a measure used and defined by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for assessing the benefits from new drugs. Essentially if a drug costs more than £20,000-£30,000 (which is apparently the quantified benefit of a ‘quality-adjusted life year) then it is not likely to be issued.

Whatever your views on these kind of measurements – with the movement of Public Health into Local Authorities there is potentially more scope to work with this agenda in promoting and undertaking energy efficiency measures to improve health outcomes.

Perhaps in the future we can all be asking our GP’s for prescriptions for loft insulation? Benefiting the planet as well as our own health and addressing a terrible statistic still occurring in our nation.

Energy efficiency saves you your health!

Energy efficiency saves you your health!


Paul McIntosh says:
da21 Annual General Meeting

Category: Climate Change, Community Energy, Dorset Energized News, Energy Events in Dorset, Renewable Energy
Tags: , ,

All welcome to Dorset green charity’s annual get together on Saturday 23 November

· Keynote talk from Hugo House of Good Energy on renewable energy in Dorset at da21’s Annual General Meeting

· Hear the latest on a £1 million project to promote greener living and help tackle climate change in West Dorset.

A keynote speech from Hugo House, of Good Energy and the latest on a £1million project to promote greener living in West Dorset are two great reasons to come along to da21’s Annual General Meeting.

The event takes place in St. George’s Church Hall, Fordington, Dorchester, at 10.30am on 23 November and is free to everyone.

da21 is an environmental charity that works with local people, businesses, education, government and other organisations to encourage sustainable living in Dorset. Da21, in collaboration with local partners from the voluntary, statutory and business sectors, recently secured £960,000 to work with communities in Dorchester, Bridport and surrounding areas.

Good Energy are a South West company, based in Wiltshire and were the first dedicated 100% renewable electricity supplier. They supply over 35,000 customers and support over 55,000 homes, business and communities generating their own energy.

“I’d encourage anyone who has an interest in environmental issues to come along,” says da21’s Chairman Andrew Barker. “It’s a great chance to hear some inspirational thinking, catch up on how we’re working for a greener Dorset and meet like-minded people over a bit of lunch.”

da21’s AGM is at St.George’s Church Hall, High Street Fordington, Dorchester, DT1 1LB 10.30am-1pm, on Saturday 23 November.


da21s logo

da21s logo


Paul McIntosh says:
Free draughtbusters workshops in Bridport 16th November

Category: Dorset Energized News, Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Energy Events in Dorset, Fuel Poverty & Security
Tags: , ,

Draught Busters Poster

Save fuel, save money, save the environment. Draughts are responsible for up to 15% of heat loss in the home. The discomfort from cold draughts can make homes feel even colder. Transition Town Bridport are hosting two free workshops to help cut your bills this winter, demonstrating effective, low cost ways to save fuel and make your home more comfortable.

They will show you how to make thermal curtain liners without a sewing machine and how to draught-proof your home.

Both workshops will be held in the Chapel in the Garden, 13 East St, Bridport DT6 3JX.

Workshop 1 – Curtains
10:00am Saturday 9th November 2013

How to make a pair of simple thermal liners to beef-up your existing curtains into cold stoppers. Also, how to turn duvet covers into curtains. You will receive free thermal lining material, which does not need hemming, for one of your windows. Please give us the dimensions of your window openings and existing curtains before the workshop.

The liners are made by ironing curtain tape on to the liner with hemming tape and then reinforcing the tape with a minimal number of stitches.

The tools you will need to make thermal liners at home are an iron, hemming tape and a needle and thread.

Workshop 2 – Draught-proofing
10:00am Saturday 16th November 2013

How to draught-proof your windows and doors using professional quality draught-proofing strips. Funding has enabled us to provide materials for the workshop and allow you to buy the materials at less than half the retail price.

The tools you will need to draught-proof your home are a pair of secateurs, a small hacksaw, a tape measure and a small hammer.

For further details or to book a place on or Chit Chong on 01297 445682


Paul McIntosh says:
Learn about Powerstar energy efficiency in Bournemouth 12th November

Category: Energy Efficiency, Energy Events in Dorset

Powerstar Cutout

Learn about Powerstar energy efficiency in Bournemouth EMSc (UK) Ltd, British manufacturer of the Powerstar range of voltage optimisation systems, is inviting business in Bournemouth and the surrounding areas to attend a free seminar to learn how to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy bills.

Date: 12th November 2013

Time: 9:30am – 1:00pm

Venue: Best Western Connaught Hotel, West Hill Road, West Cliff, Bournemouth, BH2 5PH

Cost: Free Book online:

The focus of the event will be on energy management and sustainability and will include a presentation by Mr Dean Watt, regional business development manager (South West England) for EMSc (UK) Ltd, who will provide a Continuing Professional/ Personal Development (CPD) certified overview of commercial voltage optimisation and its associated benefits, which include energy savings, reduced carbon emissions, and financial returns.

Mr Watt commented “The event will serve as a great platform for demonstrating voltage optimisation as a credible energy saving technology. Products like Powerstar are a simple, cost-efficient way to control a building’s incoming voltage in order to maximise energy savings.” There will be an opportunity to network both before and after the seminar, which includes a buffet lunch, and attendees will be awarded with training certificates and self-assessment forms on completion of the event.

Bookings can also be made via or by calling 01142 576 200, or by emailing

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Powerstar comments:
    "Thanks for the mention of our seminar Paul, and indeed thank you to any readers who attended. For business owners interested in energy saving whom were unable to attend, we have now released our early 2014 events schedule. Although we don’t have any current plans for another Bournemouth seminar, we encourage readers to keep checking the Powerstar website for future events. This year will also see us embark on a webinar schedule so those interested in voltage optimisation as an energy saving measure can learn more about the technology from the comfort of their home or office. Please see for more information. "
    January 29, 2014 a 11:24 am


Paul McIntosh says:
Dorset FlexiCars expanding into Weymouth and Blandford Forum

Category: Electric Transport, Sustainable Living

There is a shift in thinking regarding car use. A growing number of people are no longer aspiring to own a car due to rising costs and environmental issues, such as climate change and congestion. These people are turning to other forms of transport which are cheaper and kinder to the environment, often using multiple modes of transport to replace the car. Other people are selling their second car, which sits on the driveway most of the time, costing its owner’s a small fortune in depreciation.

Car clubs are a relatively new solution to this problem and are rapidly expanding throughout the country…

Dorset Flexicars offers its members access to nearly new, fully insured and well maintained vehicles to hire by the hour. This allows members to use other forms of transport like walking, cycling and public transport, and then on the occasions when they really need to use a car, they have one available to them. The club also has a number of business users who use the vehicles.

Company Secretary, Pete West, said “My wife and I live in Dorchester and used to own 2 cars, just in case both of us needed to use a vehicle at the same time. Since joining Dorset Flexicars we have sold one car, saving approximately £1000 per year in devaluation, tax, MOT and insurance (and saving the hassle of car ownership). Now we can book a car on–line if we both need to use a car at the same time. The Car Club is ideal for anyone who just needs to use a car now and again.”

Dorset Flexicars C.I.C. is a Community Interest Company which exists for the benefit of the community and is “not for profit”, which guarantees members great value for money.

The club is now expanding into Weymouth and Blandford Forum after securing grant funding. This has paid for four new cars, which will offer the people of these Towns the opportunity to try out this scheme.

If you want to know more, or wish to become a member; visit, email or call 08456 211 611.


Paul McIntosh says:
FREE fuel poverty & energy awareness training in Blandford on 4th March 2013

Category: Energy Efficiency, Energy Events in Dorset, Fuel Poverty & Security, Green Deal
Tags: ,

Dorset Energy Advice Centre (DEAC) and North Dorset District Council (NDDC) are working together to deliver a FREE half day session on Fuel Poverty next Monday 4th March 2013, 9:30am – 12:30pm in their Council Chamber at NDDC, Nordon, Salisbury Road, Blandford Forum, DT11 7LL .

With the advent of the Green Deal and rising energy prices not likely to get cheaper, this training will give attendees an excellent introduction to the definition of the term, the causes, and what can be done to mitigate it.

The training is opened to all individuals who volunteer or work for organisations and community groups who have an interest in this field.

The training covers the following topics and provides a resource pack including a fuel poverty checklist:

  • What is meant by fuel poverty
  • How it can come about
  • How to spot it
  • What help is available

If people are unable to attend this session, other training sessions are being held across Dorset:

  • Dorchester, Tuesday 5th March, 9:30 – 12:30
  • Bridport, Wednesday 6th March, 14:00 – 16:45
  • Weymouth, Monday 11th March, 14:00 – 16:45
  • Christchurch, Tuesday 12th March, 14:00 – 16:45
  • Wimborne, Wednesday 13th March, 14:00 – 16:45
  • Swanage, Tuesday 19th March, 9:30 – 12:30
  • Bournemouth / Poole TBC

Download the Fuel Poverty Training Poster >>

To make a booking or for more details about the training, please contact Becky at DEAC on 01202 209417 or email


Paul McIntosh says:
Let’s Go Green! Fun Youth Evening at Charlton Down on 5th February 2013

Category: Energy Events in Dorset

Let’s Go Green!
Tuesday 5th February 2013, 6.30pm – 8pm
Charlton Down Village Hall near Dorchester, Dorset

Dorset green community groups supported by Dorset Agenda 21 are putting on a FREE fun evening next Tuesday for young people, including:

  • A working solar powered disco
  • An electric generating bicycle that lights up if you peddle
  • Recycling activities and making things from scrap
  • A live duck is being provided by Transition Town Dorchester
  • Plus all sorts of other fun activities!

All kids welcome and the more the merrier – please feel free to invite others.

For more information please contact me: or ring 07572 169861.


Paul McIntosh says:
Windy Weekend (A Report on the Tolpuddle WindFarm Meeting)

Category: Dorset Energized News, Wind Power

Last weekend was spent gaining a direct insight into the rather polarizing and fractious debate around Wind Turbines in Swanage and Tolpuddle [at the WindFarm Meeting on Saturday 12th January 2013 at the Tolpuddle Village Hall].

It started with a question and answer session at a well attended meeting headed by the ever articulate and lucid Oliver Letwin in Tolpuddle Village Hall on Saturday; followed by a rather bracing Sunday morning on Swanage sea front. Although both events had their energies originating from the ‘anti’ side of the spectrum, both had their supporters, with Swanage in particular seeing a well organised ‘pro’ counter demonstration, challenging the challengers by their own event title.

The Tolpuddle event, organised in part by Tolpuddle Against INdustrial Turbines (TAINT) was not as hostile as one might have assumed, thanks in part to Oliver Letwins ability to hold the views of the agitated protesters in his well organised tones. Perhaps it was also due to the rather early start (9.30am) although the hall was completely packed. He did come down on the side of opposition to the application, on the principle of scale, which some might think to be a rather clever ploy as he did highlight his general support for Wind Power as part of a future energy mix, including Nuclear of which he is a supporter. My interpretation was that he left room for the proposals to be scaled down to be more acceptable to the Dorset Landscape, a view which I am a little sympathetic view since seeing a presentation by land rights campaigner Alistair McIntosh (no relation) who asked some difficult questions of the environment movement as to the impact of very large turbines on the Scottish landscape.

The meeting benefited, although the majority of attendees might disagree, with the presence of Ampair chief executive David Sharman. Ampair, based in Milborne St Andrew of all places, is the UKs oldest Wind Turbine manufacturer. David also has a local connection and no ‘declaration of interest’ apart from a rather tenuous one suggested by a member of the audience that he would benefit from the overall market benefit to his product. An interesting exchange was had between Mr Sharman and Letwin, in particular Letwin being asked to declare his overall support for Wind as part of the mix, as detailed in the recent 2020 Conservative report which is suggesting future policy approaches to a Conservative Government post 2015. Also more importantly he pulled out Letwins personal view that their should be a form of national guidance as to what are the most suitable, or rather what are the most unsuitable, sites for Wind Turbines in the UK. He stated at the moment this was his personal view, but in a few months time this might become a Cabinet view. This raises a potentially interesting dichotomy which Mr Sharman pressed him about, a central planning type approach would go against the the broad thrust of a market driven planning system and the policy of localism, mainstays of current Coalition policy. Letwin seemed convinced that the current planning system rules, at any rate, would be able to reject the application on valid grounds. I suspect he has had discussions with the local authority, as he delivered this statement with some weight.

Letwin also reiterated his faith that the increasing flexibility of the Grid to respond to intermittent sources of energy such as Wind (typically called the Smart Grid) including using electric cars as ‘storage batteries’ would mitigate concerns over efficiencies of renewables. Although some might disagree with his politics Letwin does read around enough to formulate his own views and reasoned arguments. I asked a question concerning community ownership and perhaps the community could take up the responsibility for generating as much energy as they can locally, which Letwin deftly took up using the example of community owned shops. Their was no mutterings that I could hear against this type of proposal, but neither was their rampant enthusiasm. I was left thinking that if only this kind of enthusiasm, energy and action could be harnessed to work on solutions, rather than simply a blanket ‘No’, then we might have a better future.

The demonstration in Swanage was a more heartening affair for me, with the reassuring prescence of well prepared counter-protesters from the local Greenpeace and Transition Town groups and other enthusiastic activists. I think it as fair to say that the originators of the ‘anti’ protest were somewhat bemused to have such a vocal repost, myself and a friend had several interesting and reasoned conversations with our opposite numbers and there was some press coverage although with the authority of being the originators of the event, the ‘anti’ group tended to get the top paragraph quotes and headline, although the Guardian of course was a bit more sympathetic.

The overall musing from both events was again somewhat astonishment at the sheer voracity of some of the opposition, and how it links to, imperceptibly at times, frustrations over power and ownership of land (Crown Estate and private landowners), subsidisation arguments (despite greater subsidies elsewhere in the energy market) and despite the obvious effects of the industrialised agricultural system over the last 100 years, aesthetic concerns over the landscape. You cannot help thinking that their is a psychological component buried deep underneath all this. Which indeed puzzles me still further, as those who have gained the most in the relatively cheap fossil fuel energy, post war economy, tend to be of the generation who make up the bulk of the ‘anti’ protesters…. surely a few dots on the horizon is a small price to pay so that those since born have the same?

Links for further reading:


BBC News article:


Guardian Article:

6Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "I have just read some of the comments on the website and I am sorry that we just don’t appear to be making any headway with education about wind turbines.
    Please Mary worry not your relatives with autistic children will not hear the turbines from nearly a kilometre away, indeed the children may even love the sight of the new Windmills. Not so long ago almost every major Town in England had windmills really close to their centres, why… because that was were they milled the corn. It was food from wind and now its energy from wind.
    Dear Mr Carmichael none of your points are valid. The CO2 emmisions are zero and the payback of carbon in production takes an average of 18/24 months. Compare that with Power Stations and oh by the way how many years and where will Nuclear Fuel go.
    The old chestnut about not creating on-going good energy is nonsense… why do you think the World is investing in them when you say its so inefficient, maybe you have to ask yourself some questions before making statements to rubbish this wonderful new clean free energy!!!
    Yours in the hope we can slowly but surely change your thinking by giving proper, true responses to your comments.
    Finally Bill I have some sympathy with your comments. Good people and true have been fed fairy tales that they believe to be true, now is the time to help to breakdown these ridiculous barriers and realise that we are all in the same boat. "

    February 8, 2013 a 6:44 pm

  • Anna Celeste Watson comments:
    "We must take everyone’s views into consideration but I do get a bit disappointed to hear the same old arguments over and over on every post about windpower, as they do sometimes seem perhaps a little narrow minded and selfish. I do agree with B M Carmichael though that windpower is just one option and there are no goodies or baddies here, but I would love to see the same people who hate wind turbines show their passion in a more positive way (or at least readdress the balance of their protest) to engage with and promote all the other more accessible forms of renewable energy that are less emotive, and of course took more steps to save energy in the first place : ) "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:54 pm

  • B M Carmichael comments:
    "the tragedy is this, it is easy to decide that people who are anti windfarms are anti renewable energy, may be it gives comfort to those who accept wind power blindly as the solution, you will find if you really bothered to, that in fact most people who are anti windfarms are pro renewable energy, they are just against windfarms and other inefficient and damaging renewables. windfarms currently globally cause CO2 to be produced, because they make the power station cycle in power, because wind energy is so intermittent and unreliable. There are many reasons why people do not favour windfarms, there is so much information out there to find out why, but dont be lazy, and self satisfied, dont just think that people who are anti windfarms are out of the ark, they may well be better informed than you, and that is why they have chosen to feel as they do about windfarms. Sorry if this offends. Just think, and question why? It is not as simple as you would like it to be, have a real challenge try and find out why! "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:46 pm

  • mary comments:
    "your small dots on the horizon are less than 900 metres from my relatives home, they have children who are severely autistic who are hyper sensitve to sound, one of whom also suffers from epilepsy. Do you wonder why they might be amongst those desperately unhappy at the thought of having the wind farm so near to them. A child who is severely autistic and has severely challenging behaviour as well has enough to cope with, the World is a baffling place for them, and sometimes a very cruel one. "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:22 pm

  • Bill comments:
    "Ampair chap did not indear himself when he said that the anti windies were all incomers, that rather disgraced anything he further said! Not a clever move! Perhaps it would make more sense in the first place if windfarms were put in places that were the least sensitive and less likely to cause protest, build them away from peoples homes, away from coastal areas that depend on tourism to make their bread and butter, remember Dorsets average wage is less than the national average to start off with we can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot can we! To have a strategic Government plan that works out the best places where to put the windfarms in the first place would probably have saved alot of grief and upset. I think you are not on the right track about the psyche regarding the antis though, I know of people who have probably been greenpeace members than some of us have been alive, who have probably been pro renewables likewise, and they are immensely worried by the windfarms impacting on humans, because it lessens the popularity of wind farms in the first place, making people anti. It would be sensible to try and make people happy in the first place would nt it! "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:11 pm

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "Paul what a great report. What really strikes me is that if the protestors could only take your attitude and talk things out, come to a consensus, the World be be such a better place.
    Thanks for your blog, I am looking forward to the next round and will try to be there. My last walk was as a student marching from Aldermaston to London – people can still make a difference. "

    January 23, 2013 a 2:20 pm


Paul McIntosh says:
Speak Out Against Fracking – Dorchester Meeting 15th January 2013

Category: Community Energy, Energy Events in Dorset, Fracking

Fracking Opposition Meeting
Tuesday 15th January 2013 from 7.00pm
Cerne Abbas Room, United Church, Charles Street, Dorchester, Dorset

Dorset residents and communities are invited to a meeting to set up a local coalition of groups and individuals opposed to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on Tuesday 15th January at the United Church in Dorchester (entrance in the shadows of the infamous new council offices). Please let me know if you will be coming so that I can keep an eye on numbers in case we need a larger room. You contact me via da21 at

If you follow Dorset Energized on Facebook you may have seen our recent post from the Dorset Echo, on an interesting article called HAVE YOUR SAY: Is fracking a good way of increasing gas supply? Take a look at the article to see who voted for whether fracking should be allowed and who is worried it is dangerous:

You can also check out Anna’s recent post on the Dangers of Fracking

Image above from designed by Linda Dong.


Paul McIntosh says:
Community Energy Group Newsletter for South West – December 2012

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

A new Community Energy Group Newsletter has been released for December 2012, supported by RegenSW, as the  first community energy bulletin for the South West region.

The newsletter aims to provide you with updates from the Community Energy Group Network and information about their Communities for Renewables Support Programme. It includes information about plans, progress so far, policy changes, upcoming events and useful case studies from across the network.

Click here to download a PDF of the Community Energy Group Newsletter December 2012 >>


Paul McIntosh says:
Tip of the Pops Award Winning Eco-Disco!

Category: Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy
Tags: , , , ,

Tip of the Pops is an award winning eco-disco made by combining recycling and renewable energy. Their unique brand of environmental activism with mass boogie appeal has been ‘Keeping it wheel…’ since 2007.

Tip of the Pops is actually DJ Dynamo and Earwig his solar powered wheelbarrow disco. All of the equipment and music is reclaimed waste from local recycling centres. The basic system is ‘wheely’ mobile and can be used anywhere, there is also a larger mobile disco using the same ‘Ecotainment’ philosophy.

DJ Dynamo has the freedom to set up anywhere, no power required. He can provide family entertainment, late night parties, educational activities, join in with parades or pop-up in obscure places. There are also several fun demonstrations such as a pedal powered beat-box and recycled solar ovens that can be used at your school or event. This year we have performed a world exclusive at Shambala festival, business lunches in Blandford, Salisbury schools, community fairs, weddings, children’s birthday parties and much more. Previous clients include the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency and Lush.

DJ Dynamo says “I have a very small sound system as I am limited to what I can carry on my barrow, I mainly play vinyl 7” singles that’s 5 decades of dance music! It’s very low volume compared to alternative mobile discos but maximum fun and completely environmental. Tip of the Pops is not-for-profit and any private / commercial bookings subsidise our community work.”

If you would like to book Tip of the Pops or find out more please visit the website or contact DJ Dynamo on 07789865934.


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "Love the eco disco would you be happy to come to any of our events for renewable energy ? "
    November 30, 2014 a 9:48 am

  • Collette Drayson comments:
    "Hi Lee, Vince and Paul.
    Hey…thats our Down2Earth PEAT yurt !
    Would you be up for coming along to a school event. :o) Hope you are doing ok.
    x Collette "

    November 20, 2012 a 6:45 pm

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