According to the Co-op Economy 2019 report from Co-operatives UK we are the 2nd largest Energy & Environment Co-op in the country!
The Co-op Economy is the nation’s only comprehensive report on the UK’s co-operative sector. It reveals turnover, membership and employee figures for thousands of co-op businesses across the UK.
Come along and find out more about BWCE, hear about our latest plans for how community energy can help address the climate crisis. Our AGM is being held at Komedia on Westgate Street in Bath from 1-4pm on the 14th September.
Attendance is open to all but only members will be able to vote. More information and an opportunity to sign up can be found on our Eventbrite page.
BWCE is working with 3SG, the B&NES 3rd Sector Network, and B&NES Council to run an event on Support for Environmental Projects in B&NES on 18th September at Bath City Football Club. This free event will signpost resources and support that could help groups to build on existing work or start new projects. This will include information on our own Community Fund, due to be launched this year after our AGM on 14th September.
BWCE are excited to be embarking on a partnership with Stemy Energy, a company set up, as a spin off from Comillas University in Madrid and MIT, to promote a more sustainable energy system. Stemy have created a smart app, funded by Comillas and MIT, to enable householders to manage their electricity consumption in order to reduce both carbon emissions and costs. Additionally, the app has the potential to enable householders to generate income from helping the grid to manage demand, especially as more renewable generation is installed.
Beyond its use in individual households, we are particularly enthusiastic about the longer term potential of this app to support the development of other community energy initiatives, such as peer-to-peer trading of locally generated renewable electricity, empowering villages and other small neighbourhoods to become more energy resilient.
We will be working with Stemy to roll out a programme of projects under the banner of Flex Community. For our first pilot project, starting later this year, we will be looking for volunteers in B&NES to test the smart app in their home to explore how it can effectively manage electric hot water heating. More information coming soon!
BWCE have collaborated with another local environmental group to install an information board on the South side of the River Avon at Bathampton enabling visitors to learn all about the BWCE owned hydro-electric water wheel at the Old Mill Hotel on the opposite bank. BWCE member Steve Cross has produced the display board and volunteers from the Friends of Bathampton Meadows Riverside have installed it.
The information board charts the history of water power from its use by the Chinese two millennia ago, through its significance in powering the large cotton mills of the Industrial Revolution through to today when water power is back on the agenda as one of the sources of renewable energy contributing to the fight against climate change.
Steve Cross said “We are proud to be a local pioneer in this industry, rebuilding and reopening the waterwheel in late 2016, hosted by the Old Mill Hotel. Currently it supplies about a third of the hotel’s electricity requirement and in total can generate the equivalent annual electricity to power twenty homes.”
The Bathampton Meadows Riverside volunteers used re-cycled timber and the loan of tools from a local builder to produce the stand for the board. Peter Fear said “Once you get into the mindset of ‘refuse, re-use, re-cycle’ it becomes the norm to think of alternative options rather than buying new. We are keen to keep our carbon footprint closer to a lightweight slipper rather than a big boot”.
The Friends of Bathampton Meadows Riverside was set up to maintain and improve the beautiful riverside space at Bathampton Meadows. Volunteers from both Bathampton and Batheaston have been working tirelessly to improve the area for both wildlife and visitors.
On Saturday 15th June 2019 BWCE and Comtek organised an event on the Past, Present & Future of Community Energy to raise awareness of the history of alternative/renewable technology locally and emphasise the importance of community energy today and in the future in responding to climate change
The Museum of Bath at Work hosted the event to coincide with an exhibition celebrating 50 years since the setting up of Bath Arts Workshop, including Comtek (Community Technology), which was concerned with ecological issues, recycling, alternative technology and the future of sustainable living on a local level.
The event was chaired by Robert Llewellyn (Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge and Fully Charged) and included contributions from Max Wakefield from 10:10 Climate Action, former Comtek members and BWCE.
Listen to the presentations and the panel discussion (courtesy of Phil Shepherd, Bath Arts Workshop)
Read about the event at the Bath Newseum
In the run up to the Bath & North East Somerset Council elections on 2nd May 2019 we sent a series of questions to all political parties standing candidates in the elections on their policies to:
- Achieve 100% clean energy by 2030 (as proposed in the Climate Emergency Declaration, March 2019)
- Increase community ownership of renewable energy.
- Promote community engagement around climate change action.
- Take the first practical steps to implement proposals in the Climate Emergency Declaration.
All local parties were approached, and responses were received from the following (in alphabetical order):
- B&NES Independent Group (BIG)
- Conservative Party
- Green Party
- Labour Party
- Liberal Democrat Party
Here are the full responses from the parties:
BWCE Council Elections - Responses to BWCE Questions
Our latest share offer was launched on 8th February and you can see how much has been raised so far by going to Invest in BWCE
With a minimum investment of £100 and a target interest rate of 4% we would like to reach as many people as possible to build support for our clean energy mission. For anyone who is willing to promote the share offer to their family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues we have produced a short information sheet which you can download here
To all those who have been asking how they can become a member of BWCE or when they can buy more shares, we are delighted to be able to finally open our latest share offer. See here to review and download the share offer document. You can see more information about the share offer on our website here.
Please get involved if you can. Help us do our bit to reduce our collective impact and, through positive action, add your voice to creating the political space for our leaders to implement the ambitious response to climate change and energy security we desperately need.
As well as making a clear statement of support for what we are trying to achieve, becoming a member of BWCE will also provide you with the opportunity to get involved in a not-for-profit community enterprise, democratically run by its members based on one member one vote. An organisation that is committed to carbon reduction and delivering community benefit, whilst still offering a fair rate of interest to its members and investors.
Our Supporters Network engages BWCE members and non-members alike in reaching out to the wider community to mobilise more people around community energy and climate change action. Our two working groups (CoCO and Technology) have been meeting regularly to develop various activities including information briefings, stories of success, visual displays, educational workshops, public events and research into local use of renewable energy technology.
Our next Supporters Network meeting will take place:
Thursday 21st March 2019
6.30 to 8.30pm
Friends Meeting House, York Street, Bath BA1 1NG
As well as a session on Climate Conversations we will be hearing about the ideas coming out of the working groups and providing you with a chance to support these activities. In addition, we will be discussing how we can all promote the new BWCE share offer to provide a chance for as many people as possible to invest in community energy.
For more information on the Supporters Network contact [email protected] or call 07517 100889.