On Thursday 31st January, despite the arrival of snow, 30 people attended our ‘Taking the Heat out of Climate Conversations’ workshop at the Museum of Bath at Work. Guided by facilitators Susan Johnson (Zero West) and Paul Hoggett (Climate Psychology Alliance) we explored how to have more positive climate conversations with friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues.
It was a practical workshop, mixing small group conversations with input on psychological theory to help us explore the resistances and ethical dilemmas we encounter when trying to talk about climate change.
An online platform has been set up to enable participants to continue to share experiences and the topic will be re-visited at our next Supporters Network meeting on 21st March 2019.
BWCE’s asset management services have transferred to Bright Renewables, a new business wholly owned by its community clients. Bright Renewables acquired Mongoose Energy’s asset management business with financial support from Community Owned Renewable Energy LLP which is funded by social investors Power to Change and Big Society Capital. Mongoose Energy will be wound up in due course, once it completes the sale of its assets and settles any remaining obligations.
The first clients and owners of Bright Renewables are all former Mongoose Energy members, including BWCE, but new community clients will be joining shortly. Mongoose Energy’s asset management staff also transferred over to the new business.
We are delighted to be part of this new community owned enterprise. Becoming 100% community owned was always part of the Mongoose Energy plan. We are pleased to see that vision coming to fruition.
As many of you will have seen in the press, Our Power, our local energy supply partner, has ceased trading. We heard about this when it was first made public. See here for Our Power’s announcement on their website. We were deeply disappointed and saddened that our partnership with Our Power, to supply electricity from our projects to local people, has come to an end in this way.
Ofgem have just issued a press release announcing that Our Power customers have been transferred to Utilita, see here, though people can switch away to someone else if they wish. Ofgem also provides answers to common questions and advice about what to do, including switching, here. Contact details for further information can be found in the links provided and/or the email from Utilita for those that have been directly affected.
We still believe in the approach to supplying local energy that we developed with Our Power and B&NES Council, and over the coming months we will explore how best we can continue to deliver local power to local people.
We will soon be opening a new share offer to enable us to continue raising capital to deliver new community renewables projects, including new community solar PV roofs and our innovative Solar Streets pilot, that includes installation of domestic solar PV and battery systems.
As some of you know from recent discussions, we are not in a position to raise new finance with the same target interest rate as previously, especially in light of the ending of the Feed in Tariff in April 2019 for new projects. So we intend to launch the new share offer with a target interest rate of 4%, potentially rising to 5% as new markets develop over the next few years, and with a minimum purchase of £100.
We will of course continue to honour all past commitments to our existing shareholders with regard to target interest rates. We are bound to meet the terms of all previous share offer documents and neither we, nor any future board can vary these terms in the future.
But we do hope you will be able to support the offer when it opens. We hope you will be able to help us continue to grow and increase our impact. We will be heavily marketing the offer in our area to increase local membership, so please spread the word!
Latest reports about climate change tell us that we need an urgent and rapidly escalating response to carbon reduction. We need to make our voices heard, let our leaders know through positive action that there is real demand for an ambitious response that is proportionate to the threats we face. What better way to do that than by ensuring your positive action supports a local community business committed to delivering community benefit rather than commercial profit.
We have now had two meetings of our Supporters Network and at the last meeting we agreed to set up two working groups
The Communication, Creative and Outreach (CoCO) group will hold its first meeting on Monday 3rd December (followed by a second on 10th January) to explore how to promote climate conversations and raise the profile of BWCE and sustainable energy activities.
The Technology group will hold its first meeting on Thursday 6th December to explore how to increase understanding of the technical challenges and solutions to climate change and how we can develop a community owned clean local energy future.
If you are interested in joining either of these groups or want to know more about the Supporters Network please contact [email protected] or call 07517 100889
BWCE is embarking on an ambitious plan to build better awareness of our work across Bath and the surrounding area and to develop the networks and partnerships we need to promote new community energy and low carbon initiatives. At our recent AGM, we managed to gather lots of ideas of who we should be talking to through a community mapping exercise and we now want to build on this.
Central to this venture will be the development of a Supporters Network. This will comprise a network of people interested in helping BWCE promote what it’s doing – from forwarding on emails/social media to creating new connections and having more conversations with more people.
A number of members have already expressed an interest in being more involved in supporting BWCE. We are now inviting members and non-members to join us to explore what we can do together.
Supporters Network meeting Wednesday 26th September 6.30pm Bath Royal Literary And Scientific Institute, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN
At the meeting we will:
Discuss the Supporters Network – what’s it all about, what are we seeking to achieve?
Explore some of the ways you can get involved, from simply sharing our news to a more extensive involvement for those with the time and inclination to do more.
Present the community map and plan how to use it and develop it further.
Explore what information and support you need to be effective.
Decide how we communicate and keep in touch with each other, without burdening you with information and meetings!
Come along even if you just want to find out more. Attending the meeting will not be a commitment to do anything! In order for us to get a sense of numbersit would be great if you could let us know you are planning to attend, please email [email protected].
If you want to discuss the meeting before attending you can call Nick Bird (BWCE Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator) on 07517 100889.
Nearly £30,000 up for grabs as Bath & West Community Energy Fund opens for applications
Bath & West Community Energy Fund opens for the fourth year running to applications from local organisations that want to shrink their carbon footprint or address the real issues of fuel poverty and climate change.
The fund, nearly £30,000 this year, comes from Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE) as part of the work it does in supporting the communities in which it operates.
The fund has in the past awarded 28 grants for a total of £90,988 with money going to schools, community groups and a variety of local environmental organisations. The 2017/18 programme opened 28 September and runs until 17 November. Applications are sought for grants of up to £5,000. Full details of the grants awarded can be found on BWCE’s website
Have you used up your existing ISA allowance for the year or have an ISA that is not performing as you would wish?
Mongoose Crowd has just launched a new service that will enable you to transfer your existing ISA to the BWCE Solar Bond, held in an Innovative Finance ISA wrapper. Thus retaining the tax free benefits available to holders of ISAs.
Transferring ISAs in this way means that you can transfer cash from your current Cash or Stocks and Shares ISA to an Innovative Finance ISA. If you wish to transfer a Stocks and Shares ISA you will first have to sell any investments you have before the funds can be transferred to Mongoose Crowd.
Please note that the ISA rules set out by HMRC require that you can only pay in to one Cash ISA, one Stocks & Shares ISA and one Innovative Finance ISA in any given tax year. The maximum combined amount you can contribute across all your ISA accounts in 2017-18 is £20,000.
You can transfer as many previous years’ ISAs as you wish, and the amount you transfer doesn’t affect the current ISA allowance of £20,000 in year 2017-18. So, for example, if you choose to transfer £5,000 from an earlier ISA, you can still contribute up to £20,000 into your current 2017-18 IF ISA allowance, meaning you can make a total IF ISA investment of £25,000.
You can choose to transfer some or all of the money held in your other ISA accounts. For example, if your current ISA holds £10,000, then you may choose to only transfer £4,000 to your Innovative Finance ISA.
You will need to register first with the Mongoose Crowd platform to arrange the transfer of your ISA but the process is relatively simple. If you get stuck you can find more information here or get help by calling 0330 223 0062 or emailing Mongoose Crowd.