The Community Energy sector in Bristol is diverse and growing, and developing a strategy together will really help make the most of that strength, and act in a coordinated way. It will also help us to communicate and work better with the council, as they will be able to understand who is doing what, and how to interact with and support the community energy sector without being seen as being partial.
It comes at a good time for the Bristol Energy Cooperative, as we are in the process of developing our own strategy, so the thinking we do can feed in to the Bristol-wide process, and we can make sure that our strategy develops to fit our role in the wider Bristol community.
The workshop brought together representatives from the Council and community groups for a fast-paced strategy brainstorming. It was tightly run by Mark Leach, with help from CSE and Bristol University.
To put us in the mood we had a talk from Simon Kenton of the Low Carbon Hub in Oxford, who had achieved an impressive amount, including creating a website to allow various initiatives to add up their contribution in order to motive further funding etc; this could be made available to other groups in Bristol and elsewhere.
We then went through a ‘SWOT’ analysis of community energy in Bristol, with an opportunity for questions and feedback from the group between each section, which was very lively. Following that we divided ourselves between several tables for short discussions on a series of topics about the vision and what targets we should aim for, which produced a lot of varied input. The Bristol Energy Network (BEN) team now has the task of assembling all of this and initiating a collaborative writing effort to create a coherent strategy document.
Watch this space on the BEN website for a report of what happened at the first workshop, and more information about what's coming next. If you'd like to be involved in the process, get in touch with us, or with BEN.