Our shiny new pilot project Net Zero Heroes kicked off today at Sparkwell School.
Dr Juliette gave an assembly and ran some fun workshops for the children to encourage them and their families to take action on climate change.
The assemblies will all be focused on “What is Climate Change?” and “What is global warming?” and then we’ll be getting the children motivated to become Net Zero Heroes - working together to contribute to stopping climate change. There will be props, demonstrations, dress up, role play, thought provoking actions, inspiring ideas, laughter, and a positive attitude to their individual actions contributing to the big goals.
Next week will be our first Community Roadshow where the general public can come along to find out more about reducing their carbon emissions and sign up to take the Net Zero Hero Challenge!
For more information on Net Zero Heroes please click here, we're going to be in Townstal, Modbury, Malborough, Buckfastleigh, Ugborough, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, South Brent, Diptford, Cornwood, Loddiswell, Newton Ferrers, Yealmpton, Brixton, Wembury, and Holbeton.
In November SDCE became aware of a planning application for a gas peaking power station in Ivybridge. We do not believe this is an appropriate technology in a climate emergency and subsequently launched a petition, commented on the planning application and began further conversations regarding the proposal.
We have spoken to WPD and understand that this substation has been identified as one that is open for flexibility services. We have also been assured that while we do need increased grid back up in this area, it is no worse than the rest of the WPD area.
Alternatively we would like to see solar PV for clean local renewable energy generation, batteries for flexibility and grid balancing, and an electric vehicle fast charging hub with a small café and pedestrian access to the town centre to cater for the imminent flood of EVs.
This is our vision.
Over the next few months we will be working hard to try and make this vision a reality, it will not be easy or straightforward, and it may not work, but that is a risk we take with innovative projects and new ideas. We will need to secure funding to determine the feasibility both in energy terms and financially. We will need to engage key stakeholders and the local community. We will need to continue to campaign against the construction of a gas peaking power station.
We hope you can join us on this exciting journey!
If you'd like to sign the petition to object to the construction of a gas peaking power station please click here.
On the 23rd November we gathered in Filham Park in Ivybridge to plant 420 saplings from the Woodland Trust.
We were led by the local ranger, Andrew Price, and planted the trees in two rows to create a new hedge beside the Manstow Football Club pitch.
Over 20 people came, including lots of children. The rain even stopped for a while!
We'd like to thank Cate for having the idea in the first place and applying to the Woodland trust for the trees, and ITC for organising the planting day.
Conrad Energy have submitted a planning application to South Hams District Council to build a gas peaking power station in Ivybridge. A gas peaking power station is one that can start up quickly to deal with the surges in electricity demand that happen at peak times, such as the evening when everyone is home watching TV, cooking, showering etc. They say we need it to cope with the intermittency of more renewable energy like wind and solar on the grid.
We oppose the construction of a new gas peaking plant because:
SDCE believe it completely inappropriate to build a gas-fired power station in this location. Low-carbon solutions are out there, this is not one of them!
View and sign the petition here: http://chng.it/nVTpGJNQ6L
You can view and comment on the planning application here: http://bit.ly/334EoHe
Comments must be submitted before the 29th November 2019.
SDCE has submitted a letter of objection which you can view here.
This is the official SDCE response to the Dartmoor National Park Local Plan consultation, which in its current draft form puts a ban on large scale renewable development in the Park. It is imperative that this does not happen, Dartmoor has an amazing wind resource and we must able to use this to meet the UK's net-zero target and the UK's Paris Agreement obligations. We also strongly believe that action should be taken for DNP to become a leader in restoring and protective biodiversity. You are welcome to use this to inform your own response.
1. SDCE commentary on the Final Draft Local Plan
‘Major development will not take place in the National Park other than in exceptional circumstances.’
The SDCE board has decided that the time has come to provide some office space for the self-employed project workers. We also have to keep a big stock of energy efficiency measures and need somewhere to store them.
The Clay Factory near Ivybridge is the perfect place, it has great public transport links, is within easy cycling distance of Ivybridge and has a good car park for those travelling from the South Hams where buses only visit once a week. Not to mention the spectacular views across the South Hams down to the Erme estuary.
There are also two excellent local plant-based food companies on site!
Why not check out the Clay Factory for your office, meeting, party or just pop up for a delicious climate-friendly lunch.
SDCE is supporting the Global Climate Strike on the 20th September, some of our directors and members will be joining the Plymouth Strike and some joining Exeter.
How we generate electricity has been changing for several decades now.
UK electricity used to be generated at a few big power stations, which fed straight into the Transmission Network (National Grid), before it joined the Distribution Network (Western Power Distribution), and finally arrived in our homes, schools and workplaces.
Now there are many 'embedded generators' which are connected into the Distribution Network, and we also have even smaller micro-generation on our homes.
All this means that we need a much cleverer system to ensure we all have the right amount of electricity at the right time. We also don't want too much electricity on the grid.
In order to cope with peak demand, which doesn't happen very often, we need spare generation capacity, previously this has been gas power stations, sat ready and waiting to switch on and whizz huge amounts of power onto the Grid.
Or, the very exciting Electric Mountain in Llanberis, where water is pumped high up into a mountain when there is not much demand for electricity (middle of the night) then released down a vertical shaft at a moments notice - for example when everyone puts the kettle on after Eastenders!
The great news now, is that now UK grid electricity is already 30% renewable. To achieve net-zero carbon we will be increasing this percentage even further. One of the biggest challenges of renewable energy is managing the intermittency.
In the South West, Western Power Distribution are at the forefront of innovation in Flexibility Markets, looking at how we can use smart tech to control when electric vehicles charge, appliances are used, immersion heaters heat up for example, paying industry to operate at specific times of the day, and working with communities to develop local energy markets are just a few examples. All this can take electricity off the grid when there is too much supply. And large energy storage is being used to pump electricity back into the grid when there is not enough supply. Vehicle to Grid technology will also have a big impact when we are able to use our car batteries as storage for our homes.
If you've been wondering why all householders are being offered smart meters - this is why!
Three of our directors attended the WPD Flexibility Forum in Exeter on the 3rd July, to hear about how SDCE could get involved in helping to provide local flexibility and grid balancing services. It was an especially enjoyable day as it was chaired by Jodie, another SDCE director, in her day job with Regen.
We're working up some project ideas, so watch this space!
On the 25th June three of the SDCE directors joined other local residents and 16,000 others to take part in the Time is Now mass lobby of MPs in Westminster.
The aim of the mass lobby was to get our MPs engaged and actively taking steps towards the UK's net-zero carbon target. The UK government, parish councils, district councils, cities, businesses and others have declared Climate Emergencies, but what does it mean, and how can we get there?
One thing we know for sure, is that we need drastic policy changes to make it possible to achieve net-zero carbon, this is where our MPs are crucial and can be instrumental in tackling climate change.
We were fortunate to get a meeting with our MP for South West Devon Sir Gary Streeter. Gary doesn't have a record of voting on climate and environment yet (based on www.theyworkforyou.com) but he was very engaged and interested, and we left feeling very positive that we can work with him to make some changes.
We would urge you to get in touch with Gary and let him know what is important to you, it doesn't need to be a long eloquent letter or speech. Be yourself and tell him what matters, there are lots of tips on how to write to your MP on the Hope for the Future website, they can also help with tailored briefings for your own MP.
If you'd like to chat to us about working with Gary Streeter we'd love to hear from you, please contact us.
On 23rd January, SDCE Directors Katie and Sophie traveled up to the House of Commons for the NEA Heat Heroes Awards. Sophie was honoured to have been chosen as a Heat Hero among 16 others from across the UK.
It was amazing to hear the stories of how each of the winners had gone above and beyond to help alleviate fuel poverty in their local areas. Many of the winners were working at grass roots levels helping people one to one, meeting their needs where other services had failed them.
Sophie said, "although its wonderful to be recognised for the work we are all doing, it is very sad that it is required. Recently we have found ourselves delivering Food Bank parcels to clients who are isolated, in poor social housing, unable to travel or afford to access the internet to log onto their Universal Credit journals, or referring onto Social Services because someone is unable to care for themselves safely. The awards highlighted to me how energy advisors are doing this all across the country. An energy advisor is rarely just an energy advisor!"
You can read the amazing stories of all the winners on the NEA website.