A recent National Trust report highlights that it is difficult to measure the tangible social benefits of community energy but that doing so is worthwhile to encourage a shift in the policy landscape to support its uptake and innovation. One thing is clear: wherever you find successful community energy projects, you will only see real benefits for the local area. Here are five areas where projects are adding value:
Category Archives: Low carbon future
This post is by Jason Chilvers and Helen Pallett of the 3S (Science, Society & Sustainability) Research group, at the University of East Anglia
The drive to engage wider society around energy and climate change in recent years has been impressive. There have been many examples of impactful government-led programmes, such as Sciencewise’s public dialogues, the Behavioural Insights Team, and community energy projects. An increasing appetite for engagement has also swept across civil society groups, academics and the private sector.
This post is by Catherine Cameron, Katerina Cerna and Lucy Stone of the consultancy Agulhas: Applied Knowledge. It highlights the results of research commissioned under a grant from CIFF.
Change can leave not just stranded assets and industries but stranded communities. Workers in the tar sands oil fields of Alberta, Canada were determined this fate would not befall them. Worried that the boom and bust of oil extraction would lead to layoffs, community disintegration and tough times, they chose a different course. The worker-led Iron & Earth initiative is an indication of what could happen if fossil fuel workers get involved in changing their prospects.
If you passed Norwood School in Lambeth last month, you may have seen an unusual sight: a group of teenagers on the roof. Far from misbehaving, the students were taking part in Repowering Lambeth’s Schools, a community energy project installing solar panels with a total of 264 kWp capacity on five schools and a library in the London Borough of Lambeth. As well as earning the school more money, students and the local area benefit from a community fund and solar panel making workshops.
The government published its Road to Zero strategy this week, as a pathway to decarbonise the road transport sector, the source of a quarter of the UK’s annual carbon emissions. The strategy also aims to show how this transition will make Britain a global leader in low carbon vehicles and their associated infrastructure. Read more
The right of UK citizens to breathe clean air is routinely violated. In 2018, air pollution in London exceeded the legal limit for the entire year before the end of January. Across the country, toxic air is linked to 40,000 premature deaths each year. And this is not a recent phenomenon. The air in London and most urban areas in the UK has been illegally polluted since 2010.
Britain’s automotive industry faces a moment of reckoning. Brexit threatens to disrupt its highly sophisticated ‘just in time’ operations while pressure to cut air pollution and go electric risks stranding investment in factories designed for the fossil fuel age. Read more
This post is by Martin Siegert, co-director of the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London. He reflects on a decade of research and education in climate change and the environment as the institute celebrates its tenth anniversary.
With a climate sceptic in the White House, record sea ice loss and atmospheric carbon dioxide at levels not seen for 3.5 million years, it is easy to feel that attempts to curtail climate change and safeguard the environment have failed. However, reflecting on the past decade, it’s clear that we have come a long way in that time.
As a policy assistant at Green Alliance, and a woman in her mid-twenties starting my career in energy, I am usually in the minority at meetings. My experience so far of the energy sector is that men are nearly always over-representated at meetings and panels, unless the organisers have made a conscious effort to include female speakers and panellists. And some attempts at increasing female representation are less than wholehearted; ‘pinkwashing’, where a woman chairs an all-male panel instead of speaking, is still common.
This post was first published by Bright Blue.
British car manufacturing history is dominated by iconic vehicles like the original Mini and the Jaguar E-type. Both are recognised and associated with British manufacturing across the world. The only electric vehicle (EV) produced in the UK is the Nissan Leaf, not a brand high on the list of cars people know Britain makes. Nor do people see the UK as a leader in the EV revolution, that credit goes to California, the birth place of Elon Musk’s Tesla. Read more