Hackney Energy is up and running again. Government cuts to community solar schemes knocked us off track for a while. But we are going for an Energy Advice Shop in Hackney and crowding a solar scheme in the borough – just for starters. The Hackney Energy website, blog and tweets are ticking over, and we always welcome ideas for blogs or news items. But it was good to begin to share ideas for further HE campaigns in 2017.
Actions from meeting:
- Pursue crowdfunding idea for a solar energy project in Hackney.
- Meet Councillor Jon Burke with a view to exploring the idea of Hackney bringing its energy advice service back home.
- Arrange Hackney Energy’s annual general meeting.
- Donate £100 from HE funds to Banister House solar co-op.
Hackney solar power installations. We all acknowledged again our sense of betrayal that the government had cut the feed in tariff for solar power schemes, preventing further community energy schemes like Banister House. However, people are still installing rooftop units in Hackney, but at a slower rate than before the cut in the feed-in tariff, and the motivation is more about cutting carbon emissions than to generate income. Viv O’Brien said that there is growing interest in households opting for lithium battery storage systems. A church in North London had installed solar panels through a crowdfunding scheme, which obviously helps to pay for the kit and derive some benefit from the much lower feed in tariff.
We should also have a closer look at electric vehicle charging points in the borough – anyone up for that???
Energy shop: Gilbert Smyth updated us on the idea of setting up a one-stop energy advice shop in Hackney. At present, Hackney council subcontracts its energy advice service to Islington Council’s Ene Advice Team. We have tried without success to find out how much Hackney council pays Islington for this service, and how many Hackney residents are using it. Apparently, details of the contract are confidential
Ideally, we would like to persuade Hackney to set up an Energy Advice Desk at the Service Centre by the Town Hall, Mare Street, so we have our own energy advice point for Hackney residents. We believe this would help to tackle the growing problem of fuel poverty in Hackney with a direct service, perhaps supported by Hackney Energy volunteers. We could also set up an energy stall in Ridley Road to find out what kinds of advice residents want.
Contacting Islington Council’s Energy Advice Team:
Advice covers insulation, no cost and low cost ways to save energy, efficient heating systems, low energy lighting, local and national grants and discount schemes, understanding bills and renewable energy technologies have to go to Islington Energy Advice Team.
Phone: 0800 953 1221 (FREEPHONE) or 0207 527 2121
Or make an appointment to see an adviser at the Energy Advice Centre, 222 Upper Street, Islington.
Energy projects in Hackney
We also discussed:
- Hackney Energy Company: Cllr Burke is apparently interested in setting up an Energy Company in Hackney, providing lower cost, renewable-sourced energy for our residents. The company could buy energy generated locally. Possible places where power could be installed include the London Fields Lido and Hackney council homes.
- Planning issues: Local councils can put additional requirements on developers to include sustainable construction methods ion their schemes, including houses converted into flats. We will pore over the council’s draft planning policy.
- SERA: a Hackney branch of SERA (Socialist Environment Resource Association) has been set up. It has prioritized issues such as: air quality in Hackney, monitoring particulate emissions around some schools; a feasibility study of solar power on the London Fields Lido; and glass bottle recycling.
- We also discussed contacting other energy projects in Hackney to help build a wider energy movement in the borough.
Next meeting: chair to circulate a Doodle poll.
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