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Community Energy Fortnight: Anafon Hydro Project

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The Community Energy Fortnight hopes to raise awareness of renewable energy projects this September. As part of the national event, the Anafon Hydro Project – a community-led renewable hydro scheme – is holding a festival promoting culture, history, but most importantly: sustainability! They will also be launching their share offer – a chance to invest in the energy initiative.

Jacqui from the Anafon Hydro Project told Blue & Green Tomorrow more regarding the project.

Tell us a bit about your project – what inspired it, how did you decide on this technology, who did you involve?

Our village is tucked in a valley in a beautiful part of Snowdonia.  We are known for the impressive Aber Falls and as a gateway to the Carneddau Mountains.  We came to hear that the Anafon River in the Aber Valley was considered to be a prime site for building a high head run of river hydro scheme and that National Trust, who owned the land where the intake would be, were considering developing it themselves. Then there was the idea that the community would do it in partnership with National Trust. Then, why not do it all ourselves?

The village already had a track record of being able to raise funds and organise a large project, having converted an old mill into a community centre and cafe and an old pump house into an historical exhibition. For these efforts they had received the Queens Award for Voluntary Groups. So this seemed like a good next step.

The first stage was to see if the community was in favour. Having got the go ahead from the 100 homes in the village, we then sought and received on going help and support from National Trust, the Welsh Government and bodies such as Cooperative Energy.

 

What benefits and opportunities will this project bring to the local community?

When the hydro is generating energy, it will create income, in some years as much as £200,000 a year. Some of this will be used to pay off the bank loan, some paid to shareholders, some for ongoing costs. A considerable amount will still remain to be spent in the community and the surrounding areas.  The disposable profits will be gift aided to a charity set up in the village which will administer the funds in the form of grants.

 

What has been the biggest challenge in getting your project off the ground?

We have no paid employees so the work has been undertaken by volunteers. This has meant that for a core group of three it has at times been a full time job. This is a challenge. Another challenge has been that we have had to learn about hydro development and have had to deal with considerable bureaucracy in an area that is unfamiliar to us.

 

What has been your greatest success?

Our greatest success is that we are close to achieving all the permissions we need in order to start building. It has taken years of work and periods of considerable frustration, but we have stuck with it, and with the unfailing support of the community are at the stage when we are able to issue shares and begin our build.

 

Given a second chance, what one thing would you have done differently?

We would have trusted our own knowledge and judgement rather than assume that the big organisations knew what they were doing. There were several occasions when we had to sort things out for ourselves in the face of what seemed like deliberate obstruction, when we had assumed they would want to help.

 

Would you encourage others to get involved in community energy?

Yes. The satisfaction factor is considerable, as long as you have a good core team who are determined to see it through.

 

Top 3 resources

-The support of our community
-Sheer stubbornness
-Individuals within the big organisations who treated us like real people and who wanted to help.

 

The Community Energy Coalition (CEC) formed in 2011 and runs the Community Energy Fortnight.

The CEC is made up of 36 members, from of a wide range of organisations and charities, including Forum for the Future, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Co-operative Energy.

The fortnight hopes to inspire and educate people about the benefits of clean, green energy and encourages community groups to set up their own projects.

The public can see renewable energy projects close up with a variety of events and open days held across the UK from September 13–28.

Photo source: Anafon Hydro Project 

Further Reading:

Community Energy Fortnight: Bristol Green Doors

Community Energy Fortnight: Regen SW

Community Energy Fortnight: Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative

Community Energy Fortnight: Scene Consulting

Community Energy Fortnight gears up for second series of events

Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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Energy

Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love? - Image from Shutterstock - https://www.shutterstock.com/g/thodonal88

In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.

Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.

Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.

Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar

The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.

It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.

The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.

Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.

It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.

Home Modifications

And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.

Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.

Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics

Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.

Recycle

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?

Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.

Minimize Your Water Usage

Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.

Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?

These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.

From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!

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