LEAF Project Officer Jude Dunn attended the All Energy Decarbonise conference in Glasgow
Here are some of Jude's highlights from the conference:
• Spent most of the day at the Community Energy Seminar, with speakers speaking about community renewable energy.
• In the last hour I went to the Dcarbonise conference lecture theatre to hear 5 speakers on : The Environmental Challenge for Port Cities
2 events to hear speakers on :
• Low Carbon Heat Policy
• Low Carbon Future
• Talked to stall holders in the last hour: an AD company and Calor Gas about biogas for caravan parks.
2 companies that impressed Jude the most:
• Swanbarton Ltd
This small company from Malmsbury works with flow batteries and has established a way of doing peer to peer in real time trading, e.g. as part of a community renewable energy project on Iona with 75 households and a micro grid of solar panels on their rooves and a wind turbine and a battery sited in the local pub. They also cannot feed back into the grid. And through this system the battery – a100Kw - 250Kw 48 volt Lithium one, is balancing the system; when energy is plentiful the price falls and when energy is scarce the price rises. This is managed on a minute to minute basis where the generators can sell to the users without the use of Blockchain.
Building on what they’ve done on Iona, Swanbarton are currently working with a community project in Devon and Exeter to develop a market.
The MD, Anthony Price, is pioneering and inspirational working to tackle regulation to help small players in a market of large players.
• Nova, Energy Storage
A small company in Edinburgh has worked with Tesla to find a way to store tidal energy in Shetland to provide a baseload storage systmem which makes the system viable and robust for users.
To find out more click here
Key Learning from the Conference
• Get the local authority on board. Political will is key
• When the project is rolled out, a dedicated PM is key
• We need to change regulation so that community energy is enabled and peer to peer trading becomes a reality (See notes on Swanbarton above)
• Small innovative companies are making big changes with storage ; don’t wait for the big tech industries to find solutions! There are many small companies working on the solutions out there.
• Everyone can be included, even those without means, to be empowered in the places where they live if we make it happen.
• cross partnership working is needed to create project infrastructure as well as the need for business models for delivery within markets.
• Renewable energy can conincide not only with people and place, but with waste and the circular economy, and ultimately in the health agenda. e.g. waste products/ heat from local businesses which has previously been left untapped. e.g. whisky business used for community renewable energy on Isle of Islay.
• Many community energy projects want to communicate what they have done and help other community energy projects to set up and succeed. (e.g. Thrive Renewables (Mean Moore in Cumbria), Fintry Development Trust etc)
Jude's top take-aways from the conference:
• When communities make their first step and create a stake in their locality, other things follow that could not have been foreseen or planned for e.g. additional benefits such as community cohesion.
• Innovation exists outside waiting for the large players to provide the solutions, and changes in regulation can help community energy take a foothold.
The Project Officers had a busy April preparing for the capacity day and starting to form the Local Energy Action Groups (LEAG) in their communities.
They had great feedback from the capacity day and all agreed that the LEAG members were inspired by the event and enthusiastic to get going!
As part of the learning from the project, an independent evaluator will be charting the progress of the project and developing a Theory of Change with each of the Project Officers.
A Theory of Change is a diagram that explains how a project has an impact on its beneficiaries. It outlines all the things that a project does for of its beneficiaries, the ultimate impact that it aims to have on them, and all the separate outcomes that lead or contribute to that impact.
Following a tendering process, Dilys Burrell has been selected to undertake this work and we are really looking forward to working with Dilys to realise the potential of the LEAF project and team.