The theme for the 2018 Community Energy Fortnight was ‘Energising Communities’, an ethos which was wholeheartedly embraced at the Community Energy South Summer Workshop.

The day long event took place in Lewes on 9th July and featured presentations from community groups across Sussex, Kent, and London.

We heard from Forest Row Energy about their successful project to install solar panels on a local community centre, as well as an upcoming event which will encourage homeowners to take up solar before subsidies end next year.

Repower Balcombe explored the opportunities presented by the emergence of electric vehicles on our roads, which will require 30,000 new charging points in the UK by 2030.

Brighton Energy Cooperative shared some of their exciting rooftop solar projects, while Orchard Community Energy explained how they had used funds from their solar farm to benefit the local community.

solar PV shoreham port
Community owned solar panels at Shoreham Port

Kayla Ente from BHESCo explained how district heating networks could become the next big focus for community energy – an industry which has traditionally concentrated on wind and solar generation.

Richard Watson from Energise Sussex Coast spoke of an exciting new 1066 Energy project which will deliver lower bills and clean energy for homes in Hastings.

BHESCo’s Dan Curtis gave an inspiring talk about the fantastic work the cooperative is doing to alleviate fuel poverty and cold homes in Brighton and Hove. We heard how BHESCo saved billpayers over £28,000 last winter, and have partnered with Our Power to further support their work in the community.

We heard from UK Power Networks who discussed the emergence of Demand Side Response distribution and how community energy groups will be invited to provide extra capacity in high utilisation areas.

UK Power Network distributed energy network
How our energy supply might look in the near future

The workshop was concluded by Colin Nolden from Bristol University who has been investigating the potential for community energy groups to embrace the blockchain revolution. He looked at the role of blockchain trading platforms alongside the development of local smart grids, and how new technologies can sometimes lead to unexpected vulnerabilities for consumers who cannot participate.

The 2018 Community Energy South Summer Workshop was a great success and provided those in attendance with a wide and varied snapshot of what the different member groups are up to in the year ahead.

We found the event to be encouraging and thought-provoking, and we look forward to hearing what innovative and ground-breaking projects have been achieved this time next year.

This event was part of Community Energy Fortnight, an annual a platform to showcase inspiring examples of communities who are sharing their resources and developing clean energy projects around the UK.

%d bloggers like this: