Rye Energy Day 2013 – report

After much preparation and publicity (we even made it onto the BBC!) it finally happened – Rye’s first Energy Day, held at Tilling Green Community Centre on Saturday 2 November, with sponsorship from the Rother Environmental Group.  We had great presentations and discussion, a range of colourful informative stalls, and excellent refreshments provided by Tilling Green Residents Association. Thanks to all who contributed, and to the 100 or so who turned up!

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IMG_4492IMG_4493We had guest speakers from Lewes (Chris Rowland) and Wadebridge, Cornwall (Jake Burnyeat) – both directors of their towns’ established community energy schemes.

The big number to emerge was that if Rye saved just 10% of its energy bills that would be a £1 Million benefit for the town. If that sounds extreme, experience shows that much more than 10% will be possible in many buildings, and Wadebridge have already achieved their first £1 million!

We also announced plans already in motion to form a Co-Operative as the basis for the Community Energy scheme for Rye. It will be called RX Energy, based on the Rye fishing fleet lettering.

The question for the audience show of hands was “Do We Believe Rye Should Have a Community Energy Scheme.” Before the presentations there were some “don’t knows,” but afterwards it was an overwhelming vote in favour!

Here are the presentations:

We had a wide range of stalls, from providers of various kinds of energy technology, through to community groups:

  • A Greener Alternative – Sheffield Park –Woodburners, Biomass Heating, Solar and Heat Pumps
  • AmicusHorizon – Social Housing Provider
  • Bioenergy Technology Ltd – Lewes – Biomass Boilers
  • DH-Solar Engineering – Lewes – Bespoke Renewable Heating Systems
  • Eco-eye Ltd – Worthing – Energy Monitors
  • Greenheat UK Ltd – Hastings – Heat Pumps and Solar panels
  • Paynes Heating & Plumbing Services Limited – Uckfield – Heating Engineers
  • REG – Rother Environmental Group
  • Rye Conservation Society
  • Rye Neighbourhood Plan Committee
  • The Fuel Co-op – Glyndebourne – Heating oil and other fuels buying co-op
  • Transition Rye

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IMG_4508RyeEnergyDay-1We had numerous new sign-ups for the Transition Rye mailing list, and many other offers of help. We also have lots of new ideas on the Ideas Boards.

So what next?

  • We have applied for free advisory support in setting up the Co-Op. We were assessed for this just after Energy Day on Saturday and expect the results in a few weeks.
  • We’ll be arranging a meeting very soon to reform our Energy group, with the opportunity for more members to join and play an active role. We’ll need to allocate some clear roles and get to work seriously on RX Energy and the projects it will tackle. Please come and join us if you are able and willing to contribute!
  • We have bid for two sums from the George Clooney film funds, for setting up RX Energy and for training two energy champions. Results will be announced at the Rother Environmental Group AGM on 26th November. And we’ll be looking for other funding opportunities to support this early stage in our startup. Ideas welcome!
  • We’ll continue to seek opportunities to broaden and deepen our presence in the Rye community, building support to a level that will make the £1 Million challenge a realistic proposition. Wadebridge’s scheme has 1000 members, and 600 attending public meetings – we have a way to go! We plan to hold another Energy Day in early 2014.

Once again, thanks to everyone who made our first Energy Day such a success!

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