On Saturday 10th May three of our North London Transition groups came together with local (and in some cases from further afield) empowered residents to discuss the feasibility of setting up a North London community energy company! On a day which typified the ever-baffling nature of the ‘British Summer’, we were delighted to welcome around seventy attendees brimming with enthusiasm and support.
Firstly, we heard from Agamemnon Otero who gave an enthralling overview of the mightily impressive work he has done as a Director and Project Manager of Brixton Energy; driving the creation of the first inner-city, co-operatively owned renewable energy project on social housing estates as well as two further projects of the same model. He highlighted the role that such projects can play in fostering community empowerment, citing the apprenticeships that are undertaken by the young residents who reside in the estates. This is an aspect that Hackney Energy are also hoping to adopt, according to our second speaker Millie Darling, who provided an inpiring insight into the work she has done in creating the energy co-operative from scratch. Her main tip – take the initiative and just do it! We then heard from Nigel Farren of Energise Barnet who provided the group with a wealth of advice on the key aspects that need to be considered for such an ambitious project, such as company structure, funding, council support, and the focus on energy production and/or efficiency. After a stimulating and exciting Q&A where the thirst for knowledge was extraordinary, Nigel’s food for thought led us nicely into the second part of the event – our open discussion.
Our enthusiastic energy producers split off into tables to brainstorm some of the key themes of the day; funding, location, company structure, communicating with local authorities, district heating, and marketing. Discussions were vibrant and productive, as well as being a great opportunity to meet some new friendly local faces! Each group then came back to present their interesting and inciteful findings, and as the clock ticked past ten past four we realised that we’d reached the unfortunate time where we needed to wrap up.
The emphasis in Sara’s closing remarks and over the ensuing days has been that of momentum – let’s ensure that the positive energy and can-do spirit is capatilised upon over the coming weeks and the aim is for real and tangible action to be taken over this period to help develop the project.
Finally, thank you to everyone that attended on behalf of TKT, TTP, and TDP – all of your enthusiasm and support was infectious and has filled us all with much excitement and positive energy that we can make a real difference by turning this incredible idea into a wonderful reality.
PS. any ideas and feedback on the event and the discussion going forward are welcomed!