Uncategorized Archives - Page 2 of 2 - South East London Community Energy

Uncategorized Archives - Page 2 of 2 - South East London Community Energy

SELCE’s brainstorming weekend

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Barn demure bigAfter the success of SELCE’s first community share offer, the co-op’s directors and volunteers started 2016 with a brainstorming weekend in Kent. Our aim was to discuss a range of projects that we could develop over the medium term.

Sadly, the Chancellor’s recent decision to reduce subsidies for solar energy means that we need to look at new business models if we want to continue developing community energy projects and reducing fuel poverty in SE London.

The really good news is that SELCE ‘pre-accredited’ eight local community buildings before the subsidy cuts were introduced. This means that we’ll be able to launch a second solar-based community share offer (with annual interest payments of around 4% to investors) later this year.

Meanwhile, new projects considered during the brainstorming weekend included: a permanent energy advice shop and cafe; a business plan based on improving water use efficiency in schools and community buildings; and setting up a solar-powered car club for SE London.

Based in a picturesque, if rather chilly, Georgian barn, the SELCE team went through the pros and cons of each of the nine ideas on the table as well as fine-tuning SELCE’s structure and governance. We also took some time out for a walk through the Kentish countryside and a quick visit to the local pub.

The photo below shows nearly all of the team (somehow we failed to get any photos of the entire crew together). Incidentally, the barn was so cold when we arrived that we spent our first two sessions dressed in overcoats, hats and gloves. The barn’s owner declined our offer of expert advice on heat insulation but, mercifully, she did provide us with two extra heaters.

Big thanks to everyone who came along for making the weekend so fun and productive.

£250,000 raised in first SELCE share offer

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The beginning of a beautiful friendship….

2015 ended on a real high for SELCE following the successful completion of our first share offer. We’re hugely appreciative of the vision shown by everyone who has contributed to making SELCE’s solar project a reality.

Over the past year we’ve had some nail-biting moments as we worked our way through the complex legal process of bringing five different parties together (councils, school governors, installers, solicitors and SELCE itself) – against extremely tight deadlines and an ever-changing political landscape.

However, thanks to the 138 investors who have joined the SELCE community, we hit our funding target of £250,000. And since the close of the share offer, we haven’t wasted any time. Solar panels have now been installed on all four of our partner schools. The photo below is of one of SELCE’s directors, Simon Quamie, overseeing the installations.  Now we’re busy preparing for our second solar share offer which will be launched Simon on roofat the beginning of the summer. Watch this space.

 

Huge thanks to everyone who has supported SELCE

We would particularly like to thank all the individuals and organisations who have provided invaluable support along the way to our first solar installations.

If we listed everyone who has stuck their neck out on our behalf and contributed something to the project, the list would take up several pages. But special mention must go to (in no particular order): The team at Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency which has supported SELCE from the beginning at no charge; Chris Benbow and Henry Sheldon from Ashurst solicitors who have provided us with untiring and excellent legal representation on a pro-bono basis; all of the officers at Lewisham Council and Royal Greenwich who have, in various ways, gone above and beyond the call of duty and, in particular, Martin O’Brien (Lewisham) and Heather Yedigarov (Royal Greenwich), and the legal and property teams.

Huge thanks also goes to all the members of staff at our partner schools with particular thanks to Julie Loftstadd and Verity Wakelium (Horniman School), Sean O’Flynn, Julia Costello and Angelo Lione (Ashmead School), David Dixon and Dermot Hughes (Mulgrave School), Mark Dale Emberton and Caroline O’Shea (Charlton Park Academy); and our installers, GHG Energy, who have battled against fierce winds and driving rain to complete the installation and consistently provided excellent advice.

Thanks also to our local politicians and mayors, in particular Lewisham’s mayor Sir Steve Bullock, and cllr Paul Upex and to Royal Greenwich’s mayor Norman Adams and cllrs John Fahy and Harpinder Singh; to those organisations who supported us and, in particular, Alex Germanis (Pure Leapfrog), Harriet Sansom (Centre for Sustainable Energy), Will Cottrell (Brighton Energy Co-op), Benn Dodd (Community Shares Unit), and the team at Co-ops London.

Thanks too to those organisations that helped us to spread the word about our share offer, in particular: 10:10, SE2, the Energy Saving Trust, Project Dirt, Demand Energy Equality, We Care, The Greenwich Green Party and Quaker Peace and Justice; all the directors, advisors, volunteers of SELCE (you know who you are) who have pulled together as a team and who, together, contributed over 4000 hours of unpaid work. And, of course, many thanks to you, our members.

Winners of the M&S Energy Competition – Judges Innovation Prize

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WE WON!

It was a close run thing… for weeks we were neck and neck in the race for first place in the M&S Community Energy Competition. Unfortunately we were pipped at the post and left trying our best to be honourable third place holders! However, we later received a very exciting email advising that we had been selected as the winner of the Judges Innovation Prize and we are over the moon.

We and our partners get to build this wonderful solar generator to take to community events.

We will have a renewables roadshow!

renewable roadshow

Vote for SELCE and get our ‘solar trailer’ on the road!

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South East London Community Energy has come up with a wheely good idea.

We want to drive home the benefits of solar power with a specially-designed ‘solar trailer’ that can be used at local fairs, fun-days and festivals in Greenwich and Lewisham.

VOTE FOR US AT https://www.mandsenergyfund.com/project/27498/

As well as providing free, clean energy, the trailer would be staffed by SELCE volunteers who could provide information about how solar works and the different ways it can be used.

The trailer will also give us a great opportunity to spread the word about our work on tackling fuel poverty and helping local primary schools to reduce their energy bills with solar power.

Help us to win the M&S Energy Competition so that we can build our trailer! To win we need you to vote for us so please follow this link https://www.mandsenergyfund.com/project/27498/

MandScompHave a look at our short presentation to see what our colourful, information-packed, solar trailer would look like.

Say goodbye to dirty, smelly diesel generators.

Give us the green light and vote for SELCE’s solar trailer.

Plug in to SELCE – make your voice count!

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What makes community energy different? You do! Yes YOU: the person sat there reading this blog post. It’s you that makes community energy exciting and vibrant. The best community energy projects respond to the needs and aspirations of local residents.

To be just that we need to know more about what you would like from us – your local community energy group. It’s for this reasons that would like you to fill our a survey reflecting on what we’re currently doing and what you would like to see us do in the future. This will help us to plan our programme of activities going forward.

It will only take you 5 minutes. Help us to be the plugged-in community energy project that South East London deserves!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YOURENERGYCOOP

SELCE wins funding for pioneering research on fuel poverty

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Dr Mari Martiskainen from the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED), together with our Dr Giovanna Speciale have received a grant from The Chesshire Lehmann Fund to investigate the effectiveness of the ‘energy shop’ model, as

Giovanna and the three other doctors who have won funding for fuel poverty research.

Giovanna and the three other doctors who have won funding for fuel poverty research.

a response to fuel poverty. This new research will help researchers, policy makers and the third sector to understand how community groups can reach the vulnerable and what potential impact local activities could have. Despite repeated government pledges to banish fuel poverty once and for all, it is a persistent issue affecting an estimated 2.35 million households in the UK, with several thousand people dying every year because they cannot afford to heat their homes. However, thanks to community responses, such as SELCE, new ways are emerging to address fuel poverty.

We note four emminent Doctors: Dr Giovanna Speciale from SELCE, Dr Brenda Boardman and Dr Anne Feltham, trustees of Chesshire Lehmann Fund, and Dr Mari Martiskainen, from CIED. Image by Nora Blascsok. Link to original article about the research on the University of Sussex’s website.

Tell your friends about our SELCE video

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Roger and Luke

Here is Roger Mason (left), a local graphic artist who very kindly agreed to create the animation for our SELCE video. With him is Luke Ogden (right) and his brother Nick (taking the photo) who used their creative genius to put the video together.  Their ingenuity includes using a skateboard to film our ‘Reservoir Dogs’ sequence with Luke and camera on the skateboard and Nick pushing. Ah the glamour.

 

Greenwich mayor to save over £600 on his fuel bills

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Following SELCE’s pop-up energy cafes in Greenwich in Lewisham, almost 150 people received advice and support on cutting their fuel bills and making their homes warmer. And we got a mention in the local newspaper: here’s Alex presenting our ‘cozy quid’ emblem to the mayor of Greenwich who popped in to see how we were getting on and ended up being advised on how to make £600-worth of savings himself.

Alex and mayor

Photo credit: Adam Pope

On the subject of press coverage, we also had a really great article in Greenwich magazine: check it out here.

SELCE receive business award from Greenwich Council

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A warm welcome from the SELCE co-operative!

Almost exactly a year after SELCE came to life, three of our directors found themselves at Woolwich Town Hall receiving a business award from the mayor of Greenwich (and the leader of Greenwich council) for our innovative approach to using solar energy. It was a good evening. We even got a bunch of flower that matched our t-shirts.
SELCE with mayor

Photo credit: Brian Aldrich

Here we are with the other prize winners. It was great to be with so many people who are putting their energies into making communities in SE London more resilient. Following the presentation, the mayor said: ‘SELCE’s progress over its first year has been impressive and I am confident that the co-operative will make a big contribution to reducing fuel poverty and building strong communities in south east London.’
Selce with mayor 2

Photo credit: Brian Aldrich

The day after the civic awards ceremony, we joined thousands of people on the Time2Act climate march through central London.  It felt good to be offering a positive solar contribution to tackling the climate change as well as joining those who were campaigning against crazy government policies like fracking and nuclear energy. And, with all the sunshine we got, Alex was able to charge her phone using the mini solar panel on her backpack. Now that’s what I call multi-tasking.
SELCE March 2015 2

Photo credit: Sandrine Vaconnet