Report of Transition Chester Co-ordinator 2016 – 2017

Community Energy

CCEL installed its first solar pv project on the roof of the Northgate Arena. The project had a shaky start in the early spring of 2016 when CWAC did not approve finance for a replacing the roof where the panels were being installed. After a delay of 4 – 5 weeks the finance problem was resolved and roof repair works were give a high priority. During the summer months CCEL appointed Genfit as the installation contractor and raised the necessary £60,000 for the capital cost by way of a share offer. Shares were offered to the public from the 13 July to the 19 August and reached the required capital in that 6 week period. The panels were installed in just three days and the system completed on the 20 September 2016. The signing of legal documents has been delayed for several months since installation. It is expected that the roof lease and power purchase agreement will be signed WC 13th March 2017. The final written confirmation of registering the project with Ofgem at the higher FIT rate has still not been received. This is expected by the end of March 2017. The electricity generated by the panels can be monitored in real time by members from their smart devices.

Garden Quarter Project

TC was a partner in a joint project to identify and potentially help mitigate problems of fuel poverty in the Garden Quarter of Chester. Initiated by TC member Arnold Wilkes, the project was motivated by New Homes Bonus funding being offered in the ward by CWAC. In the early summer of 2016, 800 leaflets were posted to mainly terraced houses with a questionnaire to try to identify the most vulnerable homes. Only 5 replies were received. This was followed shortly by Chester University students carrying out an investigation into the thermal efficiency of terrace housing in the ward using a thermal imaging camera. By July, Energy Projects Plus (EPP) had become involved in the project and using their own funding source they initiated another leafletting campaign followed by home visits giving advice to residents. By the end of September, 1800 leaflets had been delivered and eventually 50 homes visits were made. In parallel with the leafleting campaign, a public awareness event was being planned for the autumn entitled “Save Energy, Save Money”. This event took place on the 29 October at the Bluecoats Primary School with 15 charities and organisations giving information and practical advice and help on a range of issues relating to saving energy in the home and saving money on energy use.

Events

The following events were organised or supported by TC/CCEL:

1                    CCEL share offer evening on the 13 July 2016

2                    TC supported the Community Energy Conference on the 15 October 2016

3                    TC supported the Save Energy, Save Money awareness day on 29 October, 2016

4                    TC organised a presentation to the public given by Diana & Simon on their tandem journey from Chester to Istanbul.

5                    Stephen attended the Community Energy Think Tank event on the 17/18 January 2017 and wrote a report which is posted on the website

6                    Members met on the evening of the 16 February to prune fruit bushes in Alexandra Park and the Narrows in Hoole.

Talks

A talk and slide presentation was given by Chris Copeman on passive house design principles and the work he did to his own home retrofitting measures to make his home carbon neutral.

Website

A new Transition Chester website was brought online in April 2016 with facilities for membership, contacting and booking the apple press. The site gets about 3 – 4 visits a day.

Suma Wholefood Co-operative

Arnold continued to run the monthly Suma orders for members, generating funds for the group from the 5% charge members pay on each order.

Apple Press

Simon hired out the apple press 21 times in 2016 and collected £210 for Transition funds. The hires were for the following categories:

Schools 6

Community 8

Private 7

Graham Booth

6 March 2017