Notes from Energy Group Meeting on 19th May 2015

Present: Huzaifa, Caroline, John, Jon, David, Barry, Aaron

Picnic in the Park

Jon wanted to know what the group would like to have on the Transition Loughborough stall at the Picnic in the Park on 13th June. Suggested in order of priority:

1 Display board on Energy Efficiency
2 CSE Fact Sheets
3 Draught proofing display

ACTION: Jon to feed this back to picnic in the park planning.

Barry suggested that we should do a similar stall at a Shepshed event in September.

ACTION: Barry to supply the group with details of the date and organisation details of the Shepshed event.

Big Energy Race

There will be a new Big Energy Race starting later this year and we need to decide if we’re going to take part and how we can get more engagement this time round. We wondered whether it was better to have a light touch for lots of people (which is what the Big Energy Race would give us) or something more in depth for a smaller number of people (such as Footpaths courses). John suggested that we could do both – such as having a Footpaths course run after the Big Energy Race with people that had already been engaged in energy saving. Decided to mull it over, ask people in the wider community what they would like and then consider it at the next meeting based on feedback.

ACTION: Jon to contact the Big Energy Race folk to make sure that there’s just one Transition Loughborough entry.

Barry’s Visit to Tony Marmont’s Energy Farm

Barry visited Tony Marmont’s farm with its energy saving measures. He has an anaerobic digester with controls in the house basement, with the tank under the field. Tony has ideas about making biofuels and there was a chemist there who talked about the synthetic fuels research work that Tony has funded. This will take another £6million pounds to develop into something more commercial. Tony’s helicopter was on display and that’s one of the reasons for the synthetic fuel production. Tony also has solar PV which he’s had from an early stage and has a micro hydro scheme with a 5m head as well. He’s worked on downwind wind turbine designs and owns Carter Wind Machines. He has straw bale external wall insulation on his building. One lesson learnt was that it was important to insulate first, generate later!

Planning Applications

David said that the place to apply for a solar farm is North West Leicestershire – four have been approved in the Diseworth area near to Junction 24a on the M1! Conversely Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) have rejected two. There is a small 50KW ground mounted solar farm proposed for Rearsby that is going through planning process now.

The group talked about Tesla’s battery storage, which was announced a few weeks ago and provides more cost effective storage for solar PV (or wind) output. Not clear if it would be worthwhile for UK domestic settings but has great potential for grid scale energy storage from large scale renewable generators. Jon mentioned that he’d done some rough comparison calculations for solar+Tesla battery storage against the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station costs.

Wishlist Choices

At the last joint transport/energy group meeting we brainstormed a “wishlist” of potential larger energy projects. At this meeting we spent half and hour considering which one(s) we’d like to work on taking forward first.

David said that the FoE would match fund solar PV on school roofs – John said that solar schools are also flavour of the month with Amber Rudd, the new minister. Caroline said that we shoul encourage energy use reductions at schools as well as PV. Solar school PV would be family and press friendly, especially as we have the education minister as our MP. This seemed to be the most popular and community oriented of the wish list ideas we gathered last month. To take it forward we need to research which school(s) in the area are the most suitable, and get in touch with their head teachers, governors and building owners.

We talked briefly about the Community Shop that CBC are looking at setting up (possibly in the old Blockbusters). The group wondered if there was space for Transition Loughborough provided energy efficiency info display?

ACTION: Jon to contact someone in CBC to see if the community shop would be open this sort of idea.

Caroline was keen on training people to do free energy assessments. This could have quite a big impact if the communities can be engaged. Aaron said that there wouldn’t be any issues with it detracting from commercial Green Deal/EPC assessors (he is one).

Energy efficiency and solar  on community buildings was another option – maybe focus on Fearon Hall and/or St Peters? Experience elsewhere has show difficulty in ensuring that people on the ground who are keen are reflected by those higher up in the organisation that actually have to sign the legal agreements. Could be similar to the solar schools idea?

Talked about how to engage landlords for an energy efficiency/EPC requirements event. Jon pointed out that lots of landlords in Loughborough already have to deal with the student housing office at the University. A ball park figure of about £500 should be enough for this sort of event – Caroline has run similar events in south Derbyshire.

ACTION: Caroline to contact Harriet at the University to find out if this idea is still possible,
ACTION: Jon to contact folk in FM Sustainability & Imago to see if this is something they’d be interest in and if they could provide a venue.

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