COVID-19 – Our Response

Due to the current COVID-19 health emergency BWCE, in common with most organisations, is changing the way it operates. All staff members are restricted to working from home and we are moving work online where we possibly can. For example, we will be testing how we can run future public meetings as online webinars. Clearly, we will be constrained in what we can do in certain areas and there will be impacts, but we are carrying out a full review of all potential risks and how to mitigate these going forward. We are confident we will be able to manage any impact, but we will of course let you know how these plans develop.

If you or anyone you know requires support or can offer it to others during the current crisis Bath Cooperative Alliance have a COVID-19 Community Support page which lists a number of local initiatives. We wish you well and hope that you stay safe and find a positive way to deal with the restrictions we now all face.

Trustees needed for BWCE Community Fund

The BWCE Community fund is looking for three new Trustees, including a Treasurer. The fund, which is a separate charity, is seeking applicants over 16 from all sections of the community for these voluntary positions. This will involve attending 4-5 daytime meetings a year (subject to the current restrictions), contributing to grant making decisions and helping the charity to make positive contributions to the local community.Deadline for applications is Thursday 30th April.

 

For more details, including a Trustee Specification and how to apply, please go to the Community Fund Trustee Vacancies page or email [email protected] 

Living with Renewables: How do we manage energy demand?

On 12th March 2020 the BWCE Supporters Network ran an event at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution to explore the challenge of balancing energy demand with increasing levels of intermittent renewable energy. The event presented the challenge and potential solutions, and enabled participants to start exploring what we can do to make sure it’s not left to the large energy companies to control and benefit from the low carbon energy transition. It was great to see so many people involved and to be a part of a positive and thought provoking evening. We are looking forward to continuing the discussion through online webinars, if not face to face in the short term.

BWCE Community Fund awards £28,000 to boost local community projects

An eco-therapy allotment, an edible food forest, a nappy library, energy ambassadors in schools, energy advice events, thermal home surveys, a solar powered village hall, family climate action and a song about climate change solutions. All these will benefit from the latest round of the BWCE Community Fund. £28,370 has been awarded to nine organisations to help them reduce carbon emissions and address fuel poverty through awareness raising, practical action and behaviour change. Find out about the successful projects at the 2020 allocations page

Pictured are successful community fund applicants Family Action on Climate Emergency (FACE) and Keynsham Community Energy.

The Community Fund is funded from surplus income from BWCE and donations from BWCE members. Further information on the Community Fund can be found here and if you want to make a donation to the fund the details are here.

We are very grateful to the family of former BWCE member Kate Hall for their legacy donation of £1,000, which is funding the Alice Park Community Garden Edible Food Forest. Community Gardener Carole Stone said: “We were particularly touched to learn that our grant was made possible thanks to the generosity of the family of a BWCE member, who made the donation in memory of their loved one.

Flex Community update

Applications have closed for our Flex Community pilot project on hot water heating and we are currently installing the Stemy Energy controller and app in a number of households. Over the next few months the project will be widening its scope to integrate solar pv and manage electricity demand from space heating (heat pumps) and electric vehicle charging. For more information check out the Flex Community project webpage and email [email protected] if you want to receive notifications for the next stage of the project.

New web pages to help you influence local decision making

There are lots of opportunities to engage in local democracy in your area to support community energy and climate emergency initiatives. However, information on how you can get involved in local democracy can be hard to find. To help you we have created a new Influencing Local Decision Making section of the website. There are suggestions for how you make your voice heard plus links through to specific pages for residents of B&NES and Wiltshire.

How can you support BWCE in 2020?

We have had a good response to our Supporters Survey but we need more to build up a better picture of the geographical coverage of our supporter base, the networks and contacts we have to draw upon and the various contributions supporters are able to make to the work of BWCE in 2020. So far the average time taken to complete the survey is 7 minutes so it would be great if you could go to BWCE Supporters Survey and answer a few questions.

One big way of supporting BWCE in 2020 is to encourage more people to become members. Our current share offer is ongoing but with the launch of Community Solar 2020 it would be great to get an influx of new members and investment by the time of our 6th share allocation on 31st January. If you know of anyone looking for a New Year’s Resolution why not suggest they join BWCE!

3rd Flex Community public meeting, 9th January

Our Flex Community project is well underway with half of our target of 30 volunteers recruited to the pilot group and the first four Stemy Energy hot water heating controllers installed. Here’s John Ingham with his new controller.

The current pilot project is for people who use immersion heaters (either as the main source or as a back-up) and who live in Bath & North East Somerset or adjoining areas (e.g. Bradford on Avon, Corsham, Trowbridge, Marshfield). Ultimately, the project will broaden out from hot water heating to integrate solar pv, heat pumps and electric vehicle charging and will provide a service to help people identify what technology to install to help reduce carbon emissions.

We are delighted to announce that we have recently been accepted onto the Next Generation Community Energy Programme to help us develop a sustainable business model and pilot the Flex Community project. This exciting innovation programme is funded by Power to Change and supported by a consortium of expert organisations led by the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol.

If you are interested in any aspect of the project please come to our 3rd Flex Community public meeting on Thursday 9th January. For more information go to our Flex Community webpages and if you think you might qualify to take part there is a short survey you can complete.

Solar Roof Spotting

Thanks to all those Solar Roof Spotters who have suggested potential sites for solar panel installation for our Community Solar 2020 offer. Please keep them coming! All the information you need, including a downloadable leaflet, FAQs, a Roof Spotters Guide and a  short survey to express interest can be found at our Community Solar 2020 web pages.