One of these partners is Bristol City Council, whom we've worked with more recently to develop our Lawrence Weston solar farm. We asked James Sterling, Marketing and Communications lead for the council to share more about his role and involvement in our solar projects. Over to you James....
For the last couple of years I have been honoured to be working with Bristol City Council, leading on the strategic communications activities for their Energy Service. The council’s Energy Service carries out a broad range of activities such as:
- Warm Up Bristol, our initiative designed to make the private housing stock in Bristol more energy efficient to create cosier, healthier homes and reduce carbon emissions.
- Our Infrastructure projects which will improve Bristol’s energy security by installing heat and energy networks to supply more efficient and lower carbon heat and power to the city.
- Our Investment projects responsible for renewable energy installations and community energy projects which help local people and businesses to invest in clean energy like solar power.
- Environmental Performance work that looks after the council’s overall environmental performance, ensuring that we are legally compliant, prevent pollution and continually improve on our environmental impacts.
- Managing the council's own Community Energy Fund which delivers grant funding of up to £10,000 to community energy projects across the city.
"The best job in the world..."
My job is to translate and convey all of this amazing activity to the many thousands of people that access our services. It means communicating and building relationships with a broad range of stakeholders from individual householders right up to big businesses. It’s the best job in the world, truly and we’re very lucky to have a local population that’s so engaged in the energy and climate change narrative.
Partnership between Bristol City Council and Bristol Energy Cooperative
I also get to work closely with some brilliant local charities, community groups and CICs. Most recently we’ve been partnering with Bristol Energy Cooperative on some fantastic local projects.
I’ve been putting a lot of effort into supporting BEC’s share and bond offers through our digital communication channels – lots of tweeting, posting and generally talking about the initiative at any given opportunity. It’s something that I feel strongly about, so I try to squeeze a cheeky little plug into every presentation that I do.
As a Local Authority, we’ve been able to support BEC by offering up our own corporate and community roof space to enable the delivery of countless solar projects. We’ve also more recently made a large commercial investment into BEC’s latest project, the Lawrence Weston Solar array. Alongside other funding partners this helped raise £2.3m to ensure that the project went ahead in time for the FiTs deadline.
The work that we do together is an example of how true corporate and community partnership can yield great benefits for our communities, many of whom are now benefiting from improved air quality and a cleaner, greener energy supply. It makes me very proud to be a Bristolian.
Want to find out more?
You can find out more about the council’s work in the energy sector and recent achievements on their energy service website. Homeowners can still sign-up for energy efficient measures via Warm Up Bristol too and there is grant funding to help.
If you’re a community group looking to get an energy project started, don’t forget about our Bristol Community Energy Fund grant offer too. The closing date for applications is 15 August 2016!