Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Simon on financing local sustainable energy projects

Last month, our UK Support Manager, Simon, was invited to speak at “Financing Energy Efficiency/Renewables Projects”, an event held by the Islington Climate Change Partnership(ICCP). The ICCP is a partnership of organisations within Islington that have committed to tackle climate change through reducing their carbon emissions by 15% by 2010 or over three years.

This event was concerned with helping some of the smaller member organisations (SMEs, voluntary orgs, schools, etc.) source finance to help implement sustainable energy projects. Presentations were given by Paul Murphy, the Carbon Reduction Advisor for the ICCP, on Carbon Trust Loans, the E.ON Sustainable Energy Fund, the EDF Energy Green Fund and the Scottish Power Green Energy Trust. Monika Munzinger, from the Building Research Establishment (BRE), also presented on the Community Sustainable Energy Programme and the Phase 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.

Simon rounded the event off with a presentation sharing some of the learning and best practice from Ashden award-winners. He spoke about the benefits, opportunities and pitfalls of community owned assets, government feed-in tariffs, revolving funds and the value of well-managed partnerships between business, local authorities and community organisations.

With over a hundred winners across the UK and in the developing world, Simon was also able to draw on a wealth of lessons and examples to offer ideas for local enterprises in Islington. For instance, The Energy Agency in Ayrshire has used a community fund from the Hadyard Hill wind farm to promote energy efficiency very intensively in three local villages. This resulted in high take-up rates for major energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation, as well as specialised insulation and solar water-heating in some households. Energy supply companies are now funding the Energy Agency to replicate the work in other villages and deprived urban areas.

Another great example comes from Bioregional. As part of the wider One Planet Sutton initiative, Sutton Council has been working with Bioregional to transform the district of Hackbridge into a sustainable suburb. Simon also talked about the great work of some of our local authority winners, who, in partnership, have delivered really impressive area-based programmes, bringing energy efficiency to thousands of homes.

Overall, we think this event was a great example of commitment toward action at a local level. Attended by organisations and entrepreneurs committed to moving towards sustainable energy use, it reflects a greater need for sustained support and knowledge-sharing amongst individuals and communities striving in these areas.

More about Ashden award-winners can be found on our website.

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