Concluding statement for Llanrhaeadr Community Energy Project
For Chronicle and others
Release date April 20th.(this is a draft version published for consultation)
firstname.lastname@example.org 0771 981 8959.
Ty Cornel, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, SY10 0JW
Llanrhaeadr community energy project, welcome to the post carbon age.
As part of the community energy asessment project we have taken a look at the longer term picture for energy supply and the immediate conclusion is that we are not prepared for what is going to happen next: Soaring energy prices will herald the beginning of a new era, the post carbon age.
Everyone knows about climate change and the urgent need to decarbonise our economy but how much do people realise that the world has already reached the peak of oil production and that we face a new reality of triple digit oil costs? Oil production from the older fields is contracting by 3-4% a year and the oil industry is trying to replace this lost capacity with deep water oil and tar sands, which cost over $100 a barrel to produce and have significant environmental consequences. The age of cheap energy, of $20 a barrel oil is over as we see prices soaring again to $120 a barrel and more, it is time to prepare for a new reality..
We need to wean ourselves off oil…. We are entering new world, one of greatly inflated energy prices.. it seems the only way to insulate ourselves from this new reality is for us to learn how to live with a lot less energy. In all likelihood we will be affected in three key ways:
- Relocalisation of economic activity
The biggest and most immediate impact will be in the cost of transport and this will force the globalised economy to relocalise, we simply will not be able to afford to move people and goods around like we have been used to. We have built a transport infroastructure wholly reliant on oil and there is simply no replacement for petrol as a high energy density liquid fuel. This will create many new opportunities for forward thinking businesses and the destruction of those heavily reliant on cheap energy.
- Local, small-scale generation from renewables
You can solve a lot of energy problems if you change your thinking and bring the scale down. .. when you can think like that you realise there is room for all sorts of smaller scale energy generation on a local scale. In a reduced energy world, the relatively small amounts made available from renewable generation will suddenly seem much more desirable, and these mainly need to be produced on a community by community basis. The good news here is that in Llanrhaeadr we have two great potentials for generating power for ourselves, from Hydro and from biomass.. to go with all the solar PV that people are currently installing.
- Local food economy
The third area to be significantly affected will be food production, as the energy costs in farming and food processing and transportation are significant and vulnerable to energy price rises. Again much more local food production will stimulate local economies and will create jobs at home, as we will no longer be able to afford to have our food grown for us in Spain, Hungary and Kenya,.
Conclusions for the project.. we can all benefit significantly from anticipating these changes by insulating our houses, upgradng appliances and by looking at how we use energy and understanding how we will be affected by such changes.
An key area of significant potential for the community is to develop a small scale hydro of which there ar at least 4 sites identified by our initial survey that are potentially economically viable whilst also having a minimal disturbance in their development.
Most importantly we need a sustained conversation about these issues and how they will affect us.
To that end we are proposing the launch of a community energy initiative to take up from where this study has left off, and to use that to focus on exploring the potential of developing a community owned hydro scheme, also with the governments new Green Deal on the horizon there should be ways we can access resources to help insulate homes and look at other ways to reduce our energy independence.
We have started a website and blog at www.llanrhaedr.org.uk and we will holding our first commuunty energy group meeting in the Wynnstay Hotel on XXXX.
Press release: Community Energy Event, Llanrhaeadr. For County Times
Release date March 20th.
email@example.com 0771981 8959. Ty Cornel, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, SY10 0JW
With energy prices soaring once again, there has perhaps never been a better time to be thinking about local energy issues. A local housing cooperative group in Llanrhaeadr, as part of their own attempts to prepare their property for a low carbon 21st century has successfully raised money from the Local Energy Action Fund to run energy audits on the community and to promote the uptake of renewable energy locally. “We are looking for where our best opportunities might lie as a community to become more energy resilient” explained Steven jones form the project.
We have been doing energy audits on a cross section of local houses, as well as looking at the potentials for generating some of our own power from renewables; all the findings will be shared at a Public event in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant primary school on Thursday 29th March. Its free to anyone interested, starts at 7.00 pm.
There will be energy experts on hand to answer your questions, a chance to talk about the bigger, long-term picture for energy and a chance to see some of the new technologies available for insulation and heating.
There will be a talk about the possibilities of community owned power generation for Llanrhaeadr, and we have undertaken audits on the possibility of hydro and biomass generation which will help identify possibilities.
Community energy audit presentation: At Ysgol Llanrhaeadr YM from 7.00 pm Thursday 29th March.
Steven Jones, Ty Cornel, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, SY10 0JW
Submission to the Chronicle, by Steve Jones, Ty Cornel, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, 17/1/12
Facing an uncertain future
There has been much talk of the financial turmoil in Europe on the national news, coupled with deep concerns about the UK economy. Meanwhile in the global energy markets we have seen the price of oil and gas rise and rise as World demand starts to outstrip supply. Energy is a complicated subject, not well understood. Suffice to say the UK with its North Sea oil and gas was a net energy exporter in the 90’s, a situation which changed around 2000 when our own production peaked and began a steady, irreversible decline – making us more and more reliant on Russian & Gulf gas and oil. There are no simple answers to challenges like this but to insulate ourselves from rising costs seems very wise. We need much better insulation on our houses, much more efficient appliances and we need to investigate and develop the potential to produce more energy ourselves from local, renewable resources.
I am writing this as part of a local group who works in the area of environmental education and we will be offering some support and information in this area. As a group we are applying to the Government’s Local Energy Awareness Fund, which will enable us to offer some free energy audits on local properties, pointing out where the areas of best opportunity lie for energy savings and investment.
We would also like to run a feasibility study on the potential for a local community hydro scheme, something that could contribute to the local economy and allow us to generate some power renewably. We will be presenting our findings, from the energy audits, as well as a presentation on up and coming government grant schemes and other areas of opportunity at the end of March, in Llanrhaeadr.
Rising energy prices are also impacting on the price of food, as so many oil derived products are used in agriculture. Fertilizers, pesticides and diesel fuel all being derived from oil and gas. I work with the Cwm Harry organisation in Newtown, who compost food waste, promote local organic food via their veg-box scheme and who are launching a new ‘Get Growing project’, to support the development of more community gardens and to link this to schools and community groups keen to develop their growing skills.
Finally, I am running a series of informal evening workshops, in the Wynnstay Arms in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, talking about Permaculture – a design system which looks at responding to energy and food security problems. The first session will on Feb 23rd at 7.30, cover charge of £3.
Not doomsday mongers, but the message is that communities will have to work more closely together to be more resilient and be better able to face global changes and challenges. Hopefully by working together locally we can create more opportunities for ourselves and especially younger members of the community seeking work experience and a way into the contracting job market.