Community Initiative Award

BWCE wins RegenSW Green Energy Award

Dinners at Regen SW Green Energy Awards are always grand affairs, held for many years in the Assembly Rooms in Bath. Packed to the molded Georgian ceilings with the great and good from the renewable energy world. This year’s dinner was no exception and was made that much tastier by the fact that we won an award, for Best Community Initiative in the South West.

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BWCE shares exemplary

Following work by BWCE chair Pete Capener – local MP and now Junior Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) cites BWCE as exemplar  at launch of Community Shares Unit – watch here about 13 minutes in. Also mentioned in notes to editors in CLG press release here. From footnote to major news item – it’s only a matter of time!

Hydro projects

After a recent trip up north I took a detour to a couple of the most well known community hydro projects. They’re both pretty impressive Archimedean screw projects funded by community share issues.

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Government asks BWCE for advice

BWCE, in the form of our chair Pete Capener, have been invited to take part in a Community Energy Contact Group set up by the Energy Minister, Greg Barker.

There have been two meetings of the group so far where Greg Barker has highlighted the key questions he would like to see addressed and the group has discussed at some length the Feed in Tariff (and the absence of a Community Tariff to date). The group will be looking at the Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive at future meetings. Pete Capener says, “It is encouraging to see that both Government ministers and senior civil servants are keen to hear the community perspective. Though of course the test will be to see the degree to which discussion translates into supportive policy and practice.”

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BWCE trials energy saving programmes for schools.

BWCE was successful in its bid for funding to the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s ‘Local Energy Assessment Fund’ for £37,000 in January. As part of our community work, 3 of our ‘generating’ schools (Ralph Allen, Oldfield and Newbridge Primary) as well as 2 additional primary schools (at Bathford and Colerne) have benefited from a full energy survey.

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BWCE wins national bid

Locally owned and run Bath & West Community Energy heard today that they have been successful in their bid to the Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF) for funding to continue their work with schools. The bid was pulled together in record time by a team of local energy workers and the directors of BWCE.

Four local schools, Ralph Allen, Oldfield, Newbridge and Bathford Primary schools, will be the first to benefit. The money, just over £30,000, will used to engage local, professional, energy specialists who will survey each school. They will suggest ways of improving energy efficiency and how any improvements could be financed. Then, using the schools as a base, they will recruit and train community ‘energy champions’. These champions will work with pupils, their families and the school community to find practical and effective ways to reduce energy in their homes.

Paula Malone, teacher and environment champion at Newbridge Primary School said ‘Children are naturally enthusiastic about saving energy. Our work with BWCE will give them plenty of practical tips to pass on to their parents’.

BWCE recently completed the west’s most successful community share offer, raising nearly £¾ million pounds from residents, to install solar panels on local schools and other community buildings.

Cathy Hough, who will coordinate the project for BWCE, said, “Doing energy assessments on our schools and working with them to reduce their fuel bills will not only help them save money but also show the pupils that they can do something positive about climate change”.

If, as expected, the scheme proves successful the project will be rolled out across other schools in the area.

And how it was reported in the Bath Chronicle