Notes on Energy Group meeting 16th June 2015

Present: Bertil, Caroline, Bertil, David, Barry, Jon

Big Energy Race

Jon explained about Big Energy Race – a competition between community groups to get as many local people engaged on energy saving and carbon footprint reduction as possible, with the ultimate prize of a relatively large amount towards a community energy project. Everyone was asked what their feeling was on taking part. Caroline had suggested having defined roles (web site, liaising with other groups, promotion, etc).

Getting people fired up enough to actually go online and take part could be a the biggest hurdle. Could we do an event in the library or a community centre and then get people to go onto computers there and then to register and make a start on taking on tasks? Getting the University sustainability team and/or the Students Union on board would potentially get the message out to large numbers of students who are all happy online.

We discussed the pros and cons of taking part – it is a little difficult as we were basing decisions on what happen in the last Big Energy Race as we don’t yet have details of the forthcoming one.

Roles: Jon offered to do the web stuff & blogging, Caroline offered to blog, Bertil said he might be able to write some articles, David said he could liaise with FoE for Solar Schools and Steve had offered (via the Google Group) to get involved.  We’ll need people to help organise and staff events as well.

We held a rough vote and the majority felt that we should take part.  It will rely on people getting involved though if we’re going to be successful.

ACTION: Jon to ask BER folk if winning the BER would make a school ineligible for FITs (question posed by Caroline).

DECC Scheme

Caroline said there is a DECC scheme called the Big Energy Saving Network that runs from mid-September to mid-March. This is a grant of £5K. In return we would have to provide advice to at least 100 “vulnerable” people (in fuel poverty, etc) and 40 “front line workers” (Citizen’s Advice Bureau, health visitors, council workers, etc). This could compete with resources with the BER, or could we use it to run BER promoting events? The same people we get to BESN events could also be encouraged to register with BER!

Caroline said that when you apply (as she has been involved before with her job at MEA) you have to show the sort of people who you will try to reach and what experience/training the people who are giving out the energy advice have.  The latter might be tricky for us as a loose community group. Jon wondered if we have the right contacts to get to the front line staff?  We discussed whether or not to put an application in for this grant… consensus was that it was interesting but too much work for us at the same time as BER.

Solar Farm Exhibition at Castle Donington

David said that there is an exhibition at Castle Donington Village Hall, 41 Moira Dale  on Wednesday (17th June 2015) evening between 6pm and 8pm for a solar farm proposal of 5MWp.  This is being proposed by a company called Push Energy and will be a dual use of land – sheep will graze (and shelter!) beneath the panels.  The 17.45 acre site will generate enough electricity to supply the needs of 1515 average homes.  As Castle Donington has around 2900 households, this is roughly half the village powered by the sun!

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