Levels and Moors Energy
Support for Somerset communities starting up renewable energy projects
Levels and Moors Energy aims to provide help for communities and businesses in the Somerset Levels and Moors area in implementing local renewable energy and low carbon schemes.
One of the reasons for setting up the project was informal feedback from people in the area that whilst there was enthusiasm for schemes, there was a lack of specialist and technical knowledge to get them going.
UPDATE: This project has now finished. The content of this page will be updated in due course
What’s the offer?
Groups and organisations that join the project can access a range of support from CSE, including:
- Scoping out opportunities for energy saving and renewable energy technologies
- Help with carrying out community consultations
- Advice on funding and finances, business planning, legal structures and planning permissions
- Technical expertise and feasibility studies
Project ideas could be led by community groups, village halls, community buildings, and potentially also small businesses with strong local community roles (such as cafes or local food stores).
Renewable energy technologies for community-scale development could include: a biomass boiler, solar water heating, solar PV panels, ground- or air-source heat pumps, a wind turbine or even small-scale hydro. However, identifying the most suitable option for a particular community location, and making plans to get a scheme off the ground can be daunting.
How will this help the Levels and Moors?
From work so far, it's clear that the cost of energy – and where it comes from – are concerns for local people, particularly in off-gas areas. Reducing energy use (for example by insulating buildings so that less energy is needed for heating) and generating renewable energy locally go some way to address these concerns.
Within the Levels and Moors area, the project also aims to:
- Support energy stewardship (energy use and generation) in the community
- Raise awareness and improve potential for energy projects in the area
- Reduce CO2 emissions, energy use and waste output
So far so good...
CSE is currently working with seven groups (listed below) in the Levels and Moors area on a number of different ideas for renewable energy schemes, and has provided information and advice to a number of parish councils in the area.
- Sustainable Axbridge Network
- Transition Athelney
- Cheddar Action Network for a Greener Environment
- Transition Langport
- Sustainable Somerton
- Wedmore Green Group
- Cossington Village Hall (see below)
I'm interested. What shall I do now ...
Support is still available for other groups or businesses that have an idea for a renewable energy project and would like support with getting a scheme off the ground.
You can also download a copy of the guidance document, 'Solar PV checklist: Questions to ask installers', which was put together as part of the Levels and Moors project, from the relevant downloads and links in the top right hand column.
If you would like to take part, or would like to be added to the distribution list for project updates, contact Bridget Newbery (0117 934 1413) or complete and return an expression of interest (downloadable from the Project Information box, right).
Cossington village hall
Success! One of the groups we've worked with in the Levels and Moors project is Cossington village hall, near Bridgwater, which installed solar PV this week. The hall, a registered charity, is new and quite energy efficient, and PV made a lot of sense given the electricity consumption profile of the building.
Pictures: (above) the panels being installed; (below) Ian Morrison and Simone Dury, trustees of Cossington village hall, and CSE's Heather Crane outside the building after the installation went live in August 2012.
Like many of the groups we're working with, Cossington village hall has had to work hard to overcome various setbacks (not least the changes to feed-in tariff payments, but also a limited capacity in terms of time, access to capital and power to make decisions) so congratulations to all concerned for getting the solar panels up and running.
You can read more about the 'new Cossington village hall FiT for solar panels' here.
For a forthcoming event at Axbridge Town Hall we produced a flier about making your own draught-excluder 'snake'. Have a look here.
"Levels and Moors?"
The 'Levels and Moors' area of Somerset has a population of around 120,000 and runs from Burnham-on-Sea in the north, to Martock in the south, and from North Petherton in the west to Glastonbury in the east. It’s considered one of the best examples of a man-made lowland wetland expanse in the world.