BWCE launches Community Solar 2020

BWCE are pleased to announce the launch of Community Solar 2020, a new programme to install community owned solar pv in the Bath & West area.

Community Solar 2020 will offer free solar panel installations for businesses, schools and community buildings.

  • BWCE will raise the money, install the systems, own and maintain them.
  • BWCE will sell the solar generated electricity to the building owner at least 10% cheaper than the grid and help them to slash their carbon emissions.
  • Surplus income is donated to local community projects to reduce emissions and fuel poverty through the BWCE Community Fund.
  • Organisations that install community owned solar will be given an opportunity to invest in BWCE and earn an annual return.

We need to identify a number of solar roofs by February 2020 and for this we need your help!

We are asking BWCE members and supporters to become Solar Roof Spotters to help us find potential roofs for the project.

 

 

 

Please go to our Community Solar 2020 web pages where you will find links to:

  • A Community Solar 2020 leaflet
  • A Roof Spotters Guide providing lots of information to help you find suitable roofs
  • Frequently Asked Questions targeted at building owners/managers.
  • A self-assessment survey which building owners/managers can complete to express interest.

Flex Community public meeting

We have been successful in signing up an initial group of volunteers for our Flex Community project to test and develop the Stemy Energy smart app that we believe has great potential to reduce carbon emissions, help the grid manage supply and demand better and ultimately make it easier to supply renewable energy directly to villages and small neighbourhoods.

 

We are now looking for more participants who meet the following criteria to join them in the New Year.

  • Live in Bath & North East Somerset or adjoining areas (e.g. Bradford on Avon, Corsham, Trowbridge, Marshfield).
  • Keen to do something practical about the climate crisis.
  • Use an electric immersion heater to heat water (either as the main source or as a back-up).

Anyone interested in helping us to develop Flex Community is invited to attend our next public meeting:

Thursday 28th November
6.30pm
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
16-18 Queen Square
Bath BA1 2HN

More details and booking via Eventbrite

BWCE’s AGM on 14th September 2019

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.

Support for Environmental Projects in B&NES

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.

Flex Community – an innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions

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!

Riverside noticeboard for the Old Mill hydro project

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.

The Past, Present & Future of Community Energy

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 Actionformer 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

Responses from B&NES Council election candidates to BWCE questions

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

Help us to promote our share offer

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