Saturday, 31 December 2011

Power to the People!

I'm a little obsessed with my energy bills, and having lagged the loft, carpetted the most draughty floors and put in an energy efficient boiler, I've probably done about as much as I can within the budget I have. I've seen my energy bills drop significantly year-on-year, but I'm still not satisfied. I can use less, but I'm still at the mercy of the utility companies and their horrendously opaque billing systems. If they want to raise the price of my gas and electricity, there's not much I can do about it.

Is there?

At the TN Third Birthday bash, Rob Hopkins showed slides covering various transition schemes across the country - from community gardens to community shops, from bakeries to breweries. And the one that got me sitting up in my seat - the Lewes power company with the solar panels on the brewery roof. It's the UK's first community-owned solar power company, and that is a really exciting prospect. That, coupled with what's proposed in Totnes with the Totnes Renewable Energy Society, shows a real sea change in people's ability to take control over the things they need in everyday life.

I don't imagine that it will be easy. We would need to come together, raise the money, find the premises, navigate the legal and logistical complexities of making it happen, and find someone to actually do the work. It might not be solar, it could be wind, biomass, anything. There are no easy answers, no quick solutions or magic bullets. Solving the problems will be a challenge. But on the way, we could do something great!

So, a Norwich Renewable Energy Society anyone? That would be an amazing aspiration for our fine city in 2012!


  1. Norwich EnergyShare, let's do it.

  2. Exciting!