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Workshop 26 January 2013: Taking forward the Energy Project

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Present: Andrew M, Andy O’B, Nick, Judith, Bob D, Brett, Felicity, Marion R, Barbara, Ray, Paula, Margaret P, Alan P

What are we trying to achieve?

Table 1 tablecloth ideas

Windmill graphic, drawn by Andrew M as discussion notes:-

  1. New build, standards raising, lobbying
  2. Energy saving, coaching, Chantry as demo building
  3. Chantry, energy saving, energy generation, education, demonstration project
  4. Loft insulation, demonstration houses, stall in empty SMC shops
  5. Community wind turbine?

Table 2 ideas

Overarching aim:  to reduce Thornbury area’s net energy consumption

A: through tackling energy use/waste

  1. Insulation of homes
  2. Changing behaviours and attitudes – make wasting energy as socially unacceptable as smoking has become
  3. Tackle commercial and community premises also

This could be done in a variety of ways such as publicity (in many forms) and also practical help e.g.

  1. Help to individuals through CSE scheme to assist over-50s in fuel poverty,
  2. Provide energy clinic through CSE
  3. Provide regular (weekly?) energy clinics locally e.g. in library

B: through community energy generation e.g.

  1. A solar array at Rock St Car Park
  2. Potentially community participation in M48 wind turbines

How do we take this forward?

Joint Session

Both groups looking at virtually same aims.  

Considered how we might take forwards these ideas.

Proposal from Andy (O’Brien): to provide information on Wadebridge model of social enterprise company, which has long term vision and is taking steps in many of the above areas. This was strongly supported by Andrew and endorsed by everyone after discussion.

Discussion about issues to consider:

Ideas for work to be done now

  1. Andy to produce information about Wadebridge and other possible proposals
  2. Andy to keep everyone up to date with negotiations about community involvement with M48 turbines and any potential for Bristol Energy to assist with Chantry project to put on solar panels
  3. Continue Chantry project
  4. Follow up South Glos’ offer of money for community energy projects to establish how much/when/any restrictions on how it is spent.
  5. Take up CSE’s offer to provide staffing for an Energy Clinic
  6. Consider feasibility study of solar array over Rock St Car Park
  7. Check with South Glos about land at Lodge Farm – possibility of solar array?
  8. Consider survey of Thornbury (area?) solar panel owners to establish approx current generation stats
  9. Mini-Marshfield e.g. take some typical Thornbury houses & retrofit insulation as demonstration homes / thermal imaging
  10. Investigate possibility of setting up an energy pricing consortium to negotiate cheaper energy for households
  11. Consider energy assessor training for volunteers
  12. Consider opening local show homes / link with Bristol Green Doors or separately
  13. Set up contacts with local groups to gain support/help e.g. Age UK

Need volunteers to take on some of the above tasks

Final discussion

We had some discussion about the scale of what we are trying to do. Bob pointed out that we have limited time and energy to do much ourselves, but we have options to employ one or more people and use money rather than effort. Andy O’B said he would like to move from his current job to put time into running an energy project if there were enough funds to pay him.

There was unanimous agreement that we should go for an ambitious project to create a step change in the Thornbury area, possibly employing one or more people, as opposed to a modest project such as a one-off event.