1. Stoke has a problem with areas suffering from poverty, high levels of deprivation and unemployment. A recent report in a local paper indicated that over 1 in 5 of local residents are on benefits.
2. Climate Change is one of the most important policy questions driving government action. All political parties are signed up to the agenda and targets to reduce carbon emissions.
3. Fuel poverty is a major issue in the area. National data indicates that over 25,000 people die each year from cold related illness a far higher proportion than other northern countries such as Canada or Norway. A national figure of 25,000 extrapolated down means that around 180-220 people day from cold related illness in the City each year.
4. The drive to create jobs from opportunities offered by this agenda is a growing movement in this country and elsewhere supported by a coalition of interests.
5. One area where a great deal of energy could be saved is adequately insulating homes and commercial practices. It has been calculated that something like 25% of energy is lost this way. A number of projects around the world such as Wisconsin Energy Efficiency is designed to stimulate a large scale building retrofit programme and create green skills training opportunity and jobs for local people.
6. Another community based project in South London is aiming to get people to produce and use energy sustainable, whatever their income.
7. There is an interest in one area of Stoke in the Burslem and Middleport area how local residents might become more involved in a concept that might provide local jobs and cut fuel bills for local people as well as fighting climate change.
8. The City Council is also committed to this agenda and that there is evidence that other communities would benefit from an approach that meets some of the challenges around poverty and worklessness outlined above. However I think that there ought to be a consciousness raising event or events to raise potential for this throughout the City
9. The City also has been successful in obtaining funding for a national retrofitting centre based at a former potbank where 400 local people will receive training in the areas of work outlined above.
10. There is also the opportunity to create energy through a variety of sources. One possibility is the approach taken by Birmingham by the installation of photovoltaic solar panels, insulation and modern fuel-efficient boilers in the city. The Council offers local residents and businesses grants and low cost loans to install insulation and panels and in return the Council collects the feed in tariff. The money raised is spent on more panels making the scheme self funding.
11. Another scheme in New Mills in Derbyshire harnesses the power of the River Goyt to turn a generator sunk in the riverbed to generate energy, which is used to power local homes and businesses. Extra energy generated is fed into the national grid and a dividend paid to local residents who buy into the project through a share issue scheme.
12. There is also potential for using the derelict land in the City to grow biomass crops. In a brief conversation with Prof John Dover at a recent regeneration lecture he indicated that there was land available in the City that a pioneer biomass-growing scheme could work depending on the chain of supply. However if biomass crops could be used to generate power locally this further could play a role in the creation of local jobs that fitted this agenda.
13. The national agenda of the new government also fits in with this agenda. This suggestion fits into the Big Society agenda and the localism of both Conservative and Liberal Democrats philosophies. There is also interest in the creation of a Green Investment Bank details will emerge later in the year.
14. However I am interested in the possibility of developing a few community benefiting structures such as a Community Interest Company (CIC) These are limited by shares or guarantee and are set up to benefit the local community. A principle of the CIC is an asset lock, which ensures that the assets remain in the community
15. Alternative as in the New Mills scheme which is funded by an Industrial Provident Scheme. For some projects the IPS has become the vehicle of choice. There is over 8,000 IPS in the country with over 10,000,000 members. The growing use of in sustainable energy developments has demonstrated the potential for raising significant capital for the community and it can offer significant return. An IPS can be run as a co-operative for the benefit of its community with profits ploughed back into the community. IPS can issue community share at a low cost by structuring them to avoid red tape of a full public prospectus. Giving locals a stake in the organisations such as New Mills can drive the project forward increase support for planning organisation lead to a feeling of community empowerment and raise awareness of the importance of renewable energy in addition to generating power and jobs.
16. There is some work to be done here
17. And call the organisation Potteries Power
And a possible job description to pull this together
Potteries Power aims to provide local solutions to fuel poverty and climate change, including energy audits, support and advice as well as enabling increased uptake of the various schemes currently on offer such as cavity and loft insulation, draught proofing, new double glazing, heating controls and replacement boiler systems and PV systems
The Energy Co-ordinator will develop and lead this carbon and energy saving project, organising events, home visits and giving professional energy advice. You will also be responsible for recruiting, managing, and supporting up to 10 part time Energy Champions who will help to deliver this project within their own local areas.
It is envisaged that the Energy Champions will be local people who have good community links, an interest in energy and carbon saving, and a passion for making a difference, but may not have any specific knowledge or experience in energy saving. After suitable training, these Champions will be the “Ëœon the ground’ contact for their local communities, and will be carrying out initial surveys, providing advice and motivating their communities.
Key duties and responsibilities
1 Develop and Lead the Potteries Power team
Ã¯â€š· Recruit, support and promote local energy champions in communities and provide and promote training for groups of volunteers.
Ã¯â€š· The Coordinator will start a series of public awareness meetings, using these to recruit 10 part time community based Energy Champions.
Ã¯â€š· The local Energy Champions will be trained by the Energy Co – ordinator, but each will also be trained to City and Guilds 6176 Energy Awareness.
2 Publicity and Marketing
Ã¯â€š· Deliver presentations, work – shops and lectures on energy issues to householders, businesses and other interested parties.
Ã¯â€š· Run regular local energy awareness meetings in community halls.
Ã¯â€š· Develop and maintain the potteries power website in conjunction with a specialist.
Ã¯â€š· Further develop the Potteries Power branding and detailed publicity material.
Ã¯â€š· Publicise and promote the project and related energy efficiency / renewable energy projects using the local media.
Ã¯â€š· Help to establish and support local information points and maintain an overview of the information network.
3 Work with the Community Energy Network to:
Ã¯â€š· Direct clients to services.
Ã¯â€š· Collate information on all householder grant funding available.
Ã¯â€š· Liase with local / national installers (insulation, glazing, heating controls, plumbing etc).
Ã¯â€š· Start Home Energy Checks.
Manage referrals and feedback data.
Ã¯â€š· Prepare best practice case studies and disseminate to households, organisations and businesses.
4 Home Energy Checks, Advice and Implementation
Ã¯â€š· Plan implementation of house by house visits.
Ã¯â€š· Select and acquire demonstration equipment (insulation samples, boiler controls etc.)
Ã¯â€š· Select and acquire smart meters.
Ã¯â€š· Conduct energy audits for houses / businesses / community buildings, where required.
Ã¯â€š· Provide follow – up information, support and advice for contacts made initially by local energy volunteers (households, community groups and small businesses) where required.
Ã¯â€š· Liase with Stoke Council to ensure householders (particularly those in fuel poverty) are claiming all their benefit entitlements.
Ã¯â€š· Distribution and training in use of smart meters.
5 Assist householders to liase with tradesmen for the installation of energy saving measures locally identified such as:
Ã¯â€š· Cavity wall and loft insulation.
Ã¯â€š· Draught proofing of windows and doors.
Ã¯â€š· Double or secondary glazing.
Ã¯â€š· Reflective film behind radiators on outside walls.
Ã¯â€š· Set up existing heating controls for optimum comfort conditions and minimum energy use.
Ã¯â€š· Upgrading heating controls – especially the retrofit installation of weather compensating ” optimum start ” 7 day heating programmer and thermostats. (especially where additional funding is available)
Ã¯â€š· Where appropriate, work with the on specification of renewable systems such as wood stoves, biomass boilers, solar thermal & PV systems.
6 Develop and maintain local contacts
Ã¯â€š· Establish and maintain a database of advice contacts and energy saving activities in the local area
Ã¯â€š· Develop connections with energy awareness campaigns, their fuel poverty action , and other organisations in such as VAST
Ã¯â€š· Identify and contact all similar local initiatives within and adjacent to the local area and liase with them as appropriate.
Ã¯â€š· Create and maintain a database of properties surveyed, action taken and carbon savings achieved.
Ã¯â€š· Produce progress reports for the management group, Climate Challenge Fund and project partners.
Ã¯â€š· Keep financial records of the project, and claim grant money
Ã¯â€š· Administrative tasks relevant to the post
Ã¯â€š· Carry out relevant tasks as requested by the management group
Ã¯â€š· Build on, and maintain, lists of installers and develop contacts