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Eleven Energy Projects Around Bristol Offered Funding To Help Local Communities



UK - Bristol - Sunrise from Cliftonwood by Harshil Shah via flickr

Eleven Bristol groups will receive a total of £58,132 to carry out a range of local community energy projects

The grants are being awarded by Bristol City Council through its Bristol Community Energy Fund – an initiative which encourages local solutions to community-specific energy challenges.

The successful projects were picked from 18 submissions by a judging panel comprising Bristol City Council representatives, community leaders, local energy partners such as Bristol Energy Network, Age UK Bristol, Bristol Disability Equality Forum, Centre for Sustainable Energy, UWE, Quartet Community Foundation and local business representatives.

Projects were chosen on the basis of their potential to support local people to:

• Reduce energy use
• Move towards cleaner and renewable sources of energy
• Take measures that can help meet their energy needs affordably.

The grant programme is currently targeted at not-for-profit organisations in the Bristol area. Community groups, charities and community interest companies from across Bristol are encouraged to apply to broaden the reach of energy projects to new communities and boost Bristol’s energy efficiency.

This new round of grants builds on the success of Bristol Community Energy Fund’s first round of funding for 12 local projects earlier this year. Many of these original projects are now well underway with St Werburghs Community Farm and the Bristol Playbus projects having been completed early.

As with the previous round of grant funding, the judging panel prioritised submissions that looked to enable renewable energy generation, reduce fuel poverty and change behaviour – all with the intention of making Bristol more sustainable and working towards the city’s target to become carbon neutral by 2050.

One of the first projects to receive funding during this round is the ‘TWO’s Project’ being led by Easton Energy Group, which will look at setting up a micro-grid across two streets in Easton by connecting Solar PV with battery storage installed on residents’ houses. The project has the potential to directly reduce carbon and create a model that could be replicated across the rest of the city.

Yael Ben-Gigi, of Easton Energy Group, said: “It’s amazing that the council is able to support an innovative project like this through the Bristol Community Energy Fund. We have really high hopes for the project’s ability to provide cheaper, cleaner energy to people while offering opportunities to engage with renewable energy generation on a very local scale. We believe that we’ll be able to build a best-practice model that can be used right across the UK.”

Other projects which have been offered funding include door-to-door energy awareness sessions being led by Talking Money and the installation of numerous energy-efficiency measures such as insulation for Zion Bristol.

A map of the community energy projects supported by the council, including newly funded schemes can be found on the Bristol Community Energy Fund website

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I’m delighted that we’re able to support such a broad range of energy projects in some extremely diverse areas of the city. These are difficult times. Local authorities face a future of austerity and budget cuts but still have ambitious carbon targets to meet. Community energy can help address both of these challenges, while supporting our communities to take ownership of energy.

“We understand that environmental and social justice are inseparable. If we are to enjoy an equitable and prosperous future, we must decarbonise by 2050 and to do this, we need to get the whole city involved through schemes like the community energy fund.

“The groups least engaged with energy issues have tended to be those most prone to fuel poverty, least likely to access information that might encourage them to undertake energy efficiency measures or to benefit from generating their own energy.

“By supporting projects which help address the specific needs of communities, we can begin to bridge that gap, helping residents to gain from a more sustainable relationship with energy. It’s also reassuring to see different groups and communities submitting applications – genuine proof of our efforts to broaden out the energy conversation city-wide.”

The fund was launched in November 2015 with seed money from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (now Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to help the city build on its community energy experience by developing a national best practice model, including an online platform for sharing tools and techniques with others.

There were calls for a first round of project proposals in February 2016, followed by this latest round in June. Twelve projects received a total of more than £53,000 in the first round of funding.

One of the next steps for the council will be to seek additional contributions from investors and the business community to grow the funding available for local projects.

In the near future, the council will also be releasing a loan fund with low cost finance to support the development of larger community-owned energy projects and, in the long-term, to create a revolving fund structure.

The council’s intention is to support groups to grow and become self-sustaining, as well as bringing down the burden of accessing resources for building improvements.

Community groups, individuals and businesses interested in getting involved in community energy projects are encouraged to get in touch via

Bristol City Council will be announcing more rounds of grant and loan funding in the coming months and inviting new and past applicants to submit applications.


Ocean Awards 2017 Winners Announced



ocean by victor via flickr

The winners of the second annual Ocean Awards, hosted by Boat International Media, the international authority on super-yachting, in partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, have been revealed.

From the development of whale drones and virtual chase boats to the banning of shark fishing and absolving the Seychelles’ debt crisis, each finalist was celebrated for their outstanding contribution to the health of the oceans from every corner of the world.

Land Rover BAR, the yacht racing team founded by four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, leads the list of winners honoured for their passion for improving the oceans, along with Palau’s former UN Ambassador for the Oceans and Seas, the late Stuart Beck. Professor Daniel Pauly and Dr Dirk Zeller – whose monumental study of the world’s fish catches for the Sea Around Us project took the media by storm – are also among those recognised for their efforts in advancing marine conservation through policy initiatives, new innovation and campaigning.

The awards, which are in association with Y.CO, were judged by an esteemed panel chaired by Charles Clover, executive director of Blue Marine Foundation. Also judging the awards were: Sir Charles Dunstone, co-founder and former chairman of Carphone Warehouse and chairman of the TalkTalk Group; Ben Goldsmith, CEO of Menhaden Capital, a new green-focused investment trust; and Charlie Birkett, co-founder and CEO of Y.CO, the challenger brand of the global superyacht industry.

Sacha Bonsor, editor in chief, Boat International Media, said: “Boat International Media is committed to fixing one of the world’s largest solvable problems – the crisis in our oceans. We are delighted to have built a platform of recognition for the outstanding organisations and individuals working towards improving the health of the oceans. Our inspirational nominees and winners are driving awareness and implementing the change that can save our oceans, and they should all be immensely proud.”

Charles Clover, executive director, Blue Marine Foundation, said: “Studies show that although the oceans are now under serious threat, with decisive action their resilience and carbon absorption can be improved and overfishing reversed within 20 years. There are still huge challenges ahead but the work of our winners is promising, motivating and worthy of celebration. This is one area of conservation where we are winning.”

Adrian Grenier, actor and founder of the Lonely Whale Foundation, who was also shortlisted for an Ocean award, said: “The biggest threat to our oceans right now is non-action. Our oceans are resilient but only if we take collective steps towards protecting and rebuilding them. We need to protect 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030. Today, we’ve protected just three per cent. We have a long way to go but I’m ready for the challenge and the opportunity to engage a new community of environment leaders.”

Helena Christensen, model and environmentalist, said: “I have huge respect and admiration for the sea. There is hardly anything more magical; its power is infinite and ever-changing. Ocean life depends on a thriving coral reef and we are destroying it.”

Full list of winners: Ocean Awards 2017

Seafarers’ Award: Ben Ainslie Racing, Land Rover BAR

Local Hero Award: Dennis Bryan Bait-it, Project Sharklink

Innovation Award: The Nature Conservancy

Responsible Business Award: Industry Group Agreement to Cod fishery in the northern part of North-East Atlantic

Policy Award: Claire Nouvian, Bloom

Public Education Award: Ian Urbina, The New York Times

Visionary Award: Stuart Beck, UN Ambassador for the Oceans and Seas

Science Award: Daniel Pauly and Dirk Zeller, Sea Around Us, the University of British Columbia

Additional Information

The Seafarers’ Award, which celebrates an individual or group from the seafaring community that has made the biggest difference over the past year to advance marine conservation, went to Land Rover’s Ben Ainslie Racing partnership. Known as Land Rover BAR, the movement was driven by Dr Susie Tomson and inspired the British America’s Cup sailing team’s sustainability strategy. The team is recognised for its project to bring back native oysters to southern British water and ‘say no to single use plastic’ campaigns while using technology sustainably via ‘virtual chase boat’.

The Local Hero Award was picked up by Dennis Bryan Bait-it of Philippines-based Project Sharklink. A co-founder of Project Sharklink, Bait-it has worked to enhance the benefits of diver tourism to his local community. He was also recognised for bringing together local fishermen tasked with protecting Monad Shoal, the only place in the world where it is possible to dive with thresher sharks, by patrolling waters and reporting illegal shark fishing activity.

The Nature Conservancy created a groundbreaking marine investment model when it brokered a debt swap between the government of the Seychelles and its Paris Club creditors, restructuring the Seychelles’ debt in exchange for a commitment by the 115-island archipelago to invest in marine conservation. This innovation provides a model for other small island developing states and saw the Conservancy awarded the Innovation Award.

The Industry Group Agreement to cod fishery in the northern part of Northeast Atlantic won the Award for Responsible Business. This follows the statement made by industry bodies including fishing unions, fleets, supermarkets and processors not to trawl for cod in the waters around Svalbard and up to the North Pole until evidence showed no harm would be caused. McDonald’s Corporation played a major role in convening industry stakeholders around the question of protecting vulnerable marine habits in the Arctic. Other members of the group include the Norwegian Fishing Vessel Owners Association, Tesco, Young’s Seafood Ltd and Marks & Spencer.

Claire Nouvian was awarded the Policy Award for her work with the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, leading to the EU to pass a ban on deep-sea bottom trawling in June 2016. Nouvian founded BLOOM in 2005, waging a campaign to highlight the damage caused by such practices.

Investigative journalist Ian Urbina was selected as the winner of the Public Education Award for his Outlaw Ocean Series, published in the New York Times between July 2015 and February 2016. Urbina travelled across 14 countries and five seas to bring the extent of lawlessness on the oceans into the public eye, encouraging criminal prosecutions and alerting governments to the enormity of the problem. There are now plans for a Netflix film of the series produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Following a visit to Palau to study coral reef preservation in 1976, Stuart Beck became a passionate supporter of the island nation, helping it gain independence, and later becoming its ambassador to the United Nations. Beck, who died last year, was honoured with the Visionary Award for his work in establishing Palau as one of the strongest advocates for marine protection on the world stage. Beck is succeeded in his role by his wife Tulik.

On the 19th January 2016, Nature Communications published a study by Prof. Daniel Pauly and Dr Dirk Zeller, which showed that over the past 60 years the global fish catch had been about 50 per cent greater than official estimates suggested. The study, based on 10 years of collecting data, resulted in substantial media attention and is encouraging many countries to improve their monitoring of fisheries, control and enforcement approaches. Pauly and Zeller were awarded the highly coveted Science Award.

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Switch2 Energy Awarded Trio Of International Management Standards



heating and ventilation by Clive Darra via flickr

Switch2 Energy, district heating specialist, has received the ISO 14001:2015 environmental and OHSAS 18001: 2007 health and safety accreditations, which have been integrated with the company’s existing ISO 9001:2015 quality management system to mark a triple achievement.

The company was supported through the process by FPA Consulting, and LRQA, which recommended Switch2 for the double certification following a five-day audit process.

Kirsty Lambert, Managing Director, Switch2, said: “We have always had robust management systems and processes, but we now have a fully integrated management system that combines the world’s best environmental, health and safety and quality ISO standards.

“We have undertaken a rigorous business improvement and assurance process with professional support from FPA and LRQA and are very proud to have achieved a trio of ISO accreditations. These standards are at the heart of our strategy and operation, and are crucial in supporting the ongoing growth of our business.”

John Barke, Managing Director, FPA Consulting, said: “Congratulations to Kirsty and the team. They have worked hard to maximize the benefits that ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 can bring, in particular around customer service, satisfaction and managing business risk which is critical to their business resilience.”

Yorkshire-based Switch2 Energy has more than 35 years experience of smart metering and billing for the community energy and district heating sector. The company remotely manages and monitors its smart meters from its UK customer service centre, which offers complete billing and administration services to more than 430 heat networks and 70,000 homes.

Further information:

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