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.
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.
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.