CRIF Community Workshop, 18th OctoberSheryl French presented an introduction to CRIF, providing an overview of theimplications of national drivers and increasing global energy demand onCambridgeshire, including the need to: deal with rising fuel prices; respond to targets,understand the options in an honest, sensible and transparent way – this is to beachieved through the CRIF.Specifically the CRIF project will help Cambridgeshire to understand:• How much energy needs to be generated locally• What and where the best renewable resources are• Which the most appropriate renewable energy technologies are• How much these cost and how they could be paid for• Who should take a lead in making things happen in the community, public and commercial sectorsFollowing this presentation, a number of key questions were raised by attendees,including how will the people of Cambridge make decisions on these things? Thefollowing sections attempted to answer the questions from community groups andinterested individuals.Tim Lunel presented on the Community Pathway, to provide an overview of:• Why communities might invest in renewable energy?• What the potential is for communities to lead on renewable energy projects?• How communities can delivery renewable energy projects.It was shown that there is currently a lack of community-led renewable energy projectsin Cambridgeshire, but that there is considerable potential for communities to deliverrenewable energy projects, particularly covering Solar PV, solar thermal, heat pumpsand wind turbines to deliver energy for community buildings and homes.A few key case study examples of projects in Cambridgeshire were presented:• Coldham wind turbines (private ownership with community benefits)• Upwell Park Solar PV (private ownership with community benefits)• Potential Waterbeach Biogas project (community ownership)• Coton Solar PV schemes for households• Gamlingay Eco Hub and planned wind turbineThe different levels of project ownership and leadership were discussed, from projectsthat are completely led and owned by community groups to developments that areowned by the private sector but also deliver benefits to communities.The range of type and scale of projects was presented including standalone windturbines, installations in community buildings and installations in groups of individualhomes.
The presentation also provided some key information on governance and financeoptions for community energy projects and links to useful resources.Questions from attendees following the presentation by Tim Lunel included:• To what extent communities and individuals can trust technical advice from the media on performance of renewable energy schemes? What if the technology (solar PV specifically) doesn’t work?• How can we gain more understanding from the experiences of renewable energy outside of the UK?• How can we avoid ‘wild west’ installers and get good advice?A discussion followed around site selection and maintenance, which can often be moreof a consideration than the technology, and that it is important to make sure producershave a performance guarantee or warranty of 25years to provide an insurance back-upfor replacement and maintenance.It was clear that it is important to build up connections amongst communities and localresidents in Cambridgeshire to learn from knowledge and experience, and also todevelop links with other UK groups outside of Cambridge (e.g. Low Carbon CommunitiesNetwork), International networks such as Transition Towns and to link with othercountries such as Sweden and Spain.It is important for community groups and individuals to choose good and local suppliers,which can be found through accreditation schemes such as the MicrogenerationCertification Scheme (MCS) or Trade Associations.ARE THERE ANY PROJECTS ALREADY BEING DELIVERED IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE?Amongst the representatives at the meeting, several provided information onrenewable energy projects they are already delivering, including:• Waterbeach community building with a Ground Source Heat Pump• Dry Drayton PV on village hall• Stapleford village pavilion refurbishment including Solar PV• Rampton Drift retrofit of PV on properties• Ely College Solar PV system• Alcombury Village, a new village with 5,000 homes in early stages of Solar PV• Comberton School small/medium wind turbine• Witchford Village hall possible suitabilityDO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS FOR POTENTIAL RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS?
There were a number of groups and individuals, who provided information on potentialrenewable energy projects they were aware of or involved in developing, including:• Chevely potential for new village hall with GSHP, PV, solar thermal etc• Hydro potential in Cambridgeshire using weirs, River Cam, Cambridge’s Jesus lock• Carbon Farling for trackable PV on farms in fields• Large scale biomass and anaerobic digestionWHAT LEVEL OF PROJECT OWNERSHIP WOULD YOU SEEK?The level of ownership – whether community-led, co-led or partner-led depends onscale of project as well as the type of technology.Key challenges are lack of individuals to take a formal lead on projects as people aregenerally very busy, which makes partnering a more feasible option in order to gaincapacity.WHAT WOULD HELP YOU DEVELOP AND DELIVER THESE?The key areas that communities and individuals felt would help to delivery communityrenewable energy in Cambridgeshire were:• Clear long-term Government incentives (to stop shifting goal posts e.g. Feed in Tariff review)• Build relationships with the media to raise awareness and increase number of ‘good news stories’ and provide a bigger picture message• Working with utility companies who are doing good work, for example Good Energy.• Finding out from other local communities how they developed and financed their projects and what skills were neededBy Sarah GauntNational Energy Foundation (NEF)