fracking-natural-gas-imageThe Government was urged last week, by The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, to accelerate development of the UK’s shale gas and oil resources.The call has been made by the Committee to ensure that the UK can reap the potential benefits that come from extracting the fossil fuels in seams across the country.

Left: the process of fracking

However, as previously reported by BHESCo, this method ofextreme fossil fuel extraction is unsustainable, feeding our dependence on fossil fuels rather than investing in renewable alternatives such as solar, wind and biomass.

The Committee states that the UK is ‘exceptionally fortunate’ to have these resources available, ignoring reports from the Tyndall Centre of the dangers of fracking. It is believed that fracking and extracting resources from seams will reduce our vulnerability, predicted from fossil fuel price increases due in the future.  The cost of this vulnerability reduction on our land and water is too great.

Fortunately, not all Members of the Lords are as enthusiastic; Lord Howell has urged caution in the development of commercial fracking, believing it to be seriously flawed and costly. It’s not all good news though as he still wants ‘economically viable shale gas and oil production go ahead as soon a possible’. Howell draws his conclusions from looking at the process in the USA which has taken many years to mature employing their already existing vast fracking infrastructure.  The UK, however, does not have such infrastructure meaning that it will be timely and costly to develop.

More important lessons can be taken from the US, where it has been reported that methane emissions are much higher than originally planned and health impacts derived from fracking practices are being validated.  At BHESCo we believe that this is the real problem. Fracking releases a concentrated harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which is 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, contaminates aquifers and land with poisonous fluids and uses diesel to operate the drilling machinery, emitting harmful particulates and nitrous oxides. All in all, fracking should not be endorsed, urged forward or championed in anyway.

At BHESCo we are encouraging everybody to think about the alternatives to using fossil fuels and join us in a clean energy revolution! Stop depending on fossil fuels and explore the alternatives; could you mount solar panels on your roof to supply your electricity, or install a biomass boiler to heat your home or business? Could you buy an electric or hybrid car?  This will put the power back in your hands, not those of the Big Six energy providers, and reduce your impact on the environment.

Join forces with your community to develop a renewable energy project together with us at BHESCo, we could help your local school, community group or even a collection of businesses and homes together set up a community energy project such as this wind farm in Watchfield, which generates enough electricity for 2,500 homes.

Sign up to receive the monthly BHESCo newsletter to keep up to date with news and events in relation to community energy, energy efficiency and the work we do. You can also express your interest and sign up to BHESCo, so when we develop our community projects you will be the first to know about them.

To find out more about these services, our projects and the work of BHESCo please contact us for more information and join the clean, community energy revolution.

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This solid wall  insulation in mounted, protected with a silicon shield then rendered

In May 2014 the Government announced that households carrying out improvements to their properties to make their homes more energy efficient may be entitled to up to £7600 back, to offset the cost of the works.

The money available from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) will be available  from June 2014 and forms the latest part of the Governments Green Deal initiative. The Green Deal encourages UK residents to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, helping to reduce heat losses and saving money on fuel bills, decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels.

The GDHIF will provide homeowners with money back on the contributions they make towards any energy efficiency improvements made, providing the criteria* is met. This new incentive entitles homeowners to the following:
  • up to £1000 for installing two measures from an approved list; and/or
  • up to £6000 for installing solid wall insulation; and
  • up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal Assessment.

The fund also applies to anyone who has bought a property in the 12 months prior to application. If the energy efficiency improvements are carried out to the property, they will qualify for up to an additional £500 incentive. Further to this the fund applies to social or private landlords, if paying for the improvements themselves.

Typical improvements include:

  • solid wall, cavity wall or loft insulation,
  • new heating systems,
  • draught-proofing,
  • double glazed windows
  • replacement storage heaters

* To be eligible to receive money from the GDHIF you must have the improvements recommended on an eligible Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) (less than 24 months old) or a Green Deal Advice Report. Further stipulations can be found detailed on the press release.

You will be provided with your Green Deal Advice Report following your Green Deal Assessment. As BHESCo Founder Kayla Ente explains,

“Many people who have had Green Deal Assessments don’t know how to take the process forward. This is where BHESCo can help. We can look at the report and help you make changes based on the information.”

Find out more about the Green Deal on the Government website  and read the full article about the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

If you would like to find out more about the improvements that could be made to your home to make it more energy efficient please contact BHESCo, who will be able to provide you with more information and advice.

Community EPicture2nergy South, an association of  15 community energy groups across Southeast England, of which BHESCo is a core member, are hosting an evening with Doug Parr, Chief Scientist and Policy Director at Greenpeace UK on Tuesday 03 June at the Brighthelm Centre 19.30-21.00.
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Doug will be sharing his thoughts on a range of hot topics – from fracking to the merits of decentralised versus centralised energy generation, and the failure to address heating, including heat networks, as a key part of energy policy, which leaves us lagging behind other European countries and challenged to make a sustainable energy transition.
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Local Green MP Caroline Lucas will be joining the discussion, and will kick off the Q&A discussion by commenting on Doug’s talk.
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Cost: Tickets cost £5 on the door (£3 concessions).

Time: Drinks & informal networking at 19.00. Talk runs from 19.30-21.00. Time for further networking afterwards.

Location: Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD.

Refreshments: Delicious free snacks and nibbles.

If you wish to attend, please reserve a place via the Community Energy South events webpage’s.

ollie2BHESCo Communications and Communities Director, Ollie Pendered, has been appointed to lead the Customer Services sub-group of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), working group on community energy grid connections. Ollie’s role is to represent community groups that work with the distribution network operators (DNO) in setting up connections for local or community renewable energy generation systems. DNOs are encouraged by the Incentive on Connections Engagement (ICE) to engage with stakeholders to agree connection targets. Despite this, connections still take too long and are too costly.

Ollie will also take a lead role in understanding customer service issues related to the development  of community energy grid connections. The  working group  focusses on identifying current issuses and barriers faced by community energy projects. The group and its members identify parties and forums suitable for raising issues and advancing the aims of the working group. By doing this the working group will highlight actions and present recommendations to the Secretary of State  for advancing community energy projects. The working group subs groups  focus on areas including connection costs, capacity and investment policy and demand flexibility and storage.

Community energy projects present opportunities for individuals to be part of self sufficient communities, generating power through efficient, sustainable technologies. To find out more about community energy projects visit the BHESCo website, read the DECC Guidance on Community Energy or contact us.