Notes from the Energy Group meeting, 10th April 2013

We’ve had two people contact us about the solar PV scheme in the last few weeks – information has been provided and they’ve been pointed at New World Solar to get proper assessments and quotes.

Steve has seen the large scale Lark Energy solar farm on the old airfield near Wymeswold – he wondered if he could arrange a visit to find out more about the scheme and how it was set up?

ACTION: Steve to find out if this is possible. Jon can help provide him with contact details.

Joe a presentation at the University recently by a chap called Mo Kelly from Sasie who suggested that houses shouldn’t have their own boilers but share a large boiler between about 200 houses and use solar PV and solar thermal panels. His idea for new houses is to use prefabricated houses that have the solar panels built into the roofing sections ready for delivery. These houses can be built by the German engineers in 3 days, assuming the foundations are pre-prepared and the mobile crane is available. Joe has been looking at the idea of incorporating home lifts into these house designs utilising regenerative braking so that older folk can make use of the two storey designs.  The idea behind prefabricated houses seems like a good one and Barry pointed out that both it and the central “district heating” style boiler have been used and promoted for many years.

There was a lively discussion the relative of merits of various economic models for developing environmental enterprises. Joe and Steve are both keen on setting up a community energy scheme/company in some form – Joe is going to research options. Jon pointed to the CSE resources available online that cover some aspects of setting up such schemes.

Leicestershire Carbon Reduction Strategy document draft was discussed.  Jon outlined his reading of the draft document.  Residential and industrial/retail groups have to share roughly the same proportions of energy saving, and it relies on quite a bit of carbon savings being made by Grid decarbonisation, which Leicestershire should also play its part in providing.

Some points raised from folk in the meeting:

  • Joe suggested that the council should support groups concerned with energy reductions and make itself amenable to setting up links to such groups. It should improve liaison, with the officers taking part of sufficient seniority that they are able to affect changes within the council.
  • Steve was keen on having the councils support community energy schemes. Need to be able to give residents impartial advice about energy saving and micro-generation options (like independent financial advisers do with with investments). Need to train people who can provide advice just within their own communities where they are known and trusted (Steve called these “barefoot energy advisers” modelled after the “barefoot doctors” employed to give community health care in China).
  • Councils and groups should realise that many people’s concerns aren’t the technology or cost/savings themselves but other blocks to implementation such as the mess being made or having to clear lofts or redecorate.
  • Kate said that councils could provide more free information for people about energy saving, and present the information in a more enticing way. Jon suggested Leicestershire should consider joining the scheme that Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, etc are already in, as this could help getting such information provided to the residents and businesses in the county.
  • Steve suggested provide some focus on training to tradesmen and small businesses who could be doing installations
  • Kate said that the county council could encourage competition between local authorities in the council to see which areas can make the best carbon reductions. This works between the boroughs in London for example.
  • Kate also suggested looking at the model of Fusion 21 – they refurbished local properties and at the same time trained local people.

ACTION: Jon will draft a response to send round the Google mailing list to solicit other comments/ideas and then will submit a Transition Loughborough response to the draft document.

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