Welcome to the 83rd LCCN newsletter! These come to you regularly with updates on what the Network is doing, other developments and, if you tell us, what you’re doing. We’re keen to find contributors who could send us an update (monthly?) on whats happening in their region that may be of interest elsewhere. And please forward this to anyone who may be interested, reminding them that they can get their own copy at: www.lowcarboncommunities.net
FITs, community renewables, and 22 GW of solar…
Most of our members will be aware that DECC have announced new developments and the next stage of consultation around Feed-In Tariffs. If you are actively involved in community energy work then you should certainly stay up to date on this – key documents are all at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/Renewable_ener/feedin_tariff/feedin_tariff.aspx
Reactions from national and local energy organisations are mixed, with a strong theme of ‘could have been worse’. The details are all in the documents, but it’s also worth recognising the context and background. Much of this is about solar PV of course, as the fastest growing area; there are concerns about lack of support for small wind and some new possible interest in biomass and community hydro. DECC do seem slowly but surely to be recognising the value of community energy. Ed Davey’s replacing Chris Huhne is probably good from this viewpoint – the latter always seemed much more keen on the really big projects.
DECC’s key focus / PR strategy is on keeping a steady rate of return (at c. 5%) rather than the price / kilowatt-hour. This seems to be based on steadily falling prices and indeed (in their words) on ‘driving the costs down’. There may be problems here – at a seminar to discuss these changes several companies highlighted how prices are likely to be stable or even rise in the year ahead due to solar panel production levels not rising as fast as demand world-wide (apparently Brazil is getting very keen). There are also issues about labour costs etc.
They are moving towards ‘degression’ – steady price drops, more along the German model, but there will still be an annual review which will maintain some of the uncertainty that has blighted recent months. They see prices falling further post 2015 – ‘requiring very little subsidy’ as we reach grid parity.
The big picture from Greg Barker was all that ‘DECC now takes decentralised energy seriously’ and that this has been a step change since he came in… His big picture vision / ambition is that 22Gw of solar is achievable by 2020, building on adding 3.5Gw to existing to get close to 5GW in 2014/15 (election time). 22Gw of solar (and 4 Million solar homes) is actually quite staggering (and far more than nuclear is likely to be able to deliver). In 2010 one industry forecast was for 0.5GW by 2014! Check the article below for more on the rise of renewables and this from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/09/solar-power-ambition-uk?intcmp=122 (the comments below this are an interesting snapshot of views on solar).
The Green Deal and communities
Somebody once said ‘if you think you understand it, you’re not paying attention’. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the Green Deal, how it will work and, most importantly from our view point, how it will work for community organisations. In cooperation with other organisations within the CCAA (Communities and Climate Action Alliance) we are going to run an on-line survey to find out how much our members and others know about this and how far you see yourselves having a significant role.
But first we and CCAA are keen to hear from those who are already engaged. We know from the conference sessions that some organisations are already working on detailed models for engagement and on how they might work with councils, businesses, power companies etc.
If you are one of these PLEASE CONTACT US! Our first aim is to develop a listing of who is doing what and how they intend to go ahead. If you have discussed this, got plans etc. please send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send you a simple form / spread sheet to complete in your own words abiut what you are doing / planning. We will share these with all those who participate (and share conclusions and key examples more widely). If this is relevant to your work, please contact us soonest so that we can send you the form.
Meanwhile, in another part of the territory…
Edward Davey opened world’s biggest offshore windfarm last week. It’s 102 turbines and a total capacity of 367.2 MW, off Walney in Cumbria. It can supply up to 320,000 households a year with renewable power. Notable not least because “ all turbines and cables were installed in just five months and 13 days” – up there with solar in terms of speed of installation.
For the DECC view (and links to others) see:
Britain’s biggest climate change campaign is ramping up for another supercharged national occasion to celebrate and catalyse action against climate change. The Climate Week 2012 events map is already displaying over 700 events registered to take place across the UK. Take a look to see what’s going on in your area.
How will you make the national occasion and encourage others to get involved? Start thinking about how you could showcase your sustainability initiatives during Climate Week 2012. Whatever you are doing, make sure you register your event on the Climate Week website and help to create a national movement for change. It only takes a moment to register your event or activity as an official part of Climate Week. You can register your event here.
Not sure what to do? Why not take a look at our mini guide for easy things to do during Climate Week. You can access it via our resources page.
Renewables – more and more across Europe
This article highlights just how things are changing – check the diagrams for the difference in energy mix over 10 years (and that’s before the article above).
Climate, Mind and Behavior
What makes people act or not act on climate change remains a hot topic and organisations such as Common Cause are promoting new ways forward here – see their work at http://valuesandframes.org/ In the USA the Garrison Institute is now running an interesting ‘Climate, Mind and Behavior (CMB) Program’ about what drives human behavior into new thinking on climate solutions.
Show your love for climate scientists this Valentine’s day!
#iheartclimatescientists – what more can I say – show persecuted scientists that you care! Various places on the web such as: http://www.facebook.com/iHeartClimateScientists?sk=wall
Brighter Futures Together
Helping you take simple actions for your community
Tuesday 20 March 2012, 9.00am – 2.00pm
The Great Hall, Sutherland Building, Northumbria University
The Brighter Futures Together toolkit is a central source of information, advice and guidance for individuals and community groups who want to undertake action to improve their neighbourhoods, including links to key partners, community programmes, funding opportunities, and a section featuring local case studies, where groups can learn from other examples.
This half-day event will officially launch a new Brighter Futures Together toolkit for the North East of England, and explore the role of community and community groups in responding to the sustainability challenge.
Event speakers include Stephen Hughes MEP and Trewin Restorick, CEO of Global Action Plan.
Registration for the event is now open. To find out more about the event and how to book a place visit the event webpage. If you would like to book an exhibition space in the marketplace, please contact Shruti Jain at email@example.com
The event is led by the Sustainable Communities North East Initiative in partnership with the Sustainable Cities Research Institute at Northumbria University.
Do you want to be a featured group on the LCCN website?
We have started a new featured groups page on the LCCN website here. RURENER is the current group featured, check the page out if you want to find out more about them.
If you’d like to be featured on the website, send us some text now. This should be broadly structured like this:
- Who we are
- What we’re doing
- How we involve our community
- The results we’ve achieved
250 words max, and please include a photo and logo.
Please email your details to – firstname.lastname@example.org
Building LCCN – your help needed
This newsletter now goes out weekly to more than 600 people and groups, but we’d like to get it to many more. You can help!
If you find the newsletter useful, why not forward it to other people you know, either in your group or within your network. Let them know it comes out weekly, it’s free and all they have to do to get it is to join the network…by sending an email requesting a membership form to – email@example.com
Or you can download the membership form by clicking here.
LCCN Facebook page
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General Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: lowcarboncommunities.net 14/02/2012