Birmingham is a hot bed of new renewable energy initiatives at the moment, with organisations determined to promote and implement the technologies in local communities around the city. It is vital to get as many people as possible involved, as these projects are the best way for small companies or individuals to start making Birmingham a sustainable, clean city.
One new project that we feel is a perfect example of Clean British Energy in practice is that of CoRE50. Community Renewable Energy for Birmingham is a renewable energy co-operative between three excellent organisations that do a lot of great work, that you have undoubtedly heard of; Sustainable Moseley (SusMo), Kings Heath Transition, and Balsall Heath is our Planet. The aim behind CoRE50 is to reduce carbon emissions in Birmingham by installing renewable energy generation measures on community buildings and land, as well as helping community organisations save on energy bills.
They are currently looking for help with a project at the Ackers Adventure Centre, which is an independent charitable trust that many Brummies will be aware of. It's the only place in the city where you can undertake snowboarding and skiing, as well as other adventurous activities, that doesn't involve trespassing and/or attempting to jump from one building to another. The plan is to install PhotoVoltaic panels and solar hot water onto the roof of the main building, the PV panels will generate enough energy to power five homes, and will save 13 tonnes of CO2 a year.
What is needed is investment, and this is where CoRE50 are helping. They are working as partners with the Ackers, where they are looking for private investors to help pay for the panels, but rather than a donation it will be a loan, so any investors would be paid back, this could either be by getting it back in 6 months with a rate of 3% APR, or converting the loan into shares for CoRE50, which would allow the investor to claim substantial tax relief through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). You need to act quickly, though, because they want all the funding in place by the end of June.
Update (28/06/12) From their website: our suppliers have advised us that getting the photovoltaic panels up and registered prior to the reduction in feed-in-tariff will be too close to guarantee. As such, we have decided to wait until the share issuance later this year to raise money for the Ackers project.
This is just one of the projects that can be found around Birmingham. That makes me optimistic about the number of people who are really starting to make a change in the way that we use and generate our own energy, showing that an individual, or a small collection of individuals can have a positive impact on the city's future.
If you want to get a CBE for contributing to a clean future visit http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/clean_british_energy_switch_full_35921.html