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Learning About Solar Energy with Tutbury Eco Power and Energyshare

I might not have the best Eco credentials in the world as a blogger, in fact I’ve looked briefly at politics and the riots, but I don’t think I’ve covered green issues yet, although I do love saving money and recycling has always appeared to be sensible to me, with or without global warming.  Well that is all going to change!  Hold onto your hats as I learn about Solar Power and Hydro stuff, and then convince you to vote for my guys Tutbury Eco Power.  (And when you vote, make sure you have voted and not just subscribed – check by trying to vote again!)

So what’s this all about?  And why should you be bothered?  Because by voting you could win River Cottage books, and because all of these projects are great ideas on how to make local energy that then saves money for or gets used in the local community.  Plus it’s projects like this that are going to be important in making sure there is energy left for our kids to use.

Now there are a lot of people involved, so in this post I’m just going to explain the basics, and then I’ll do another about how fabulous Tutbury Ecopower are at the beginning of next week:  (However you can VOTE HERE now in the medium sized category, if you are convinced already, and remember to check that your vote went through by trying again!).

Who is involved in this project?

River Cottage:  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s has already been involved in people,  hugh’s fish fight, three hungry boys, landshare, and chicken out.  I love people with a lot of passion, and this guy clearly has it.  He is one of the founding partners of Energy share and well done him for combining his celebrity with something he feels strongly about.

Energy share was founded by river cottage and british gas. It means that you can pay the same for energy from a community as standard energy, rather than having to pay more (i.e not get ripped off).  The project gives “everyone the opportunity to source, use and (when you’re ready…) even generate your own 100% British renewable energy – and save money doing it.  Energyshare brings together people, communities and organisations to turn the system on its head to”.  So that means that aside from this competition, you can actually apply to get a grant for your local community project for creating renewable energy.  Plus you can support the growth of the usage of renewable energy, by signing up for the energy share tariff.

British Gas has a number of tariffs (payment options), and one of them is energy share, which is where some of your energy comes from british renewable energy for the same price as standard energy.  I couldn’t quite understand what all this was about and why you had to ask to go on it.  So I put on my private detective hat and phoned up pretending to be a customer (naughty, maybe, but it was a way for me to check whether this was all above board!).  The BG guy was very helpful.  By signing up for Energy share tariff you are basically telling British Gas that you do want it to look for more renewable energy sources.  If everyone signed up for it, BG would then have to go off and try and find/make loads more renewable ways of getting energy.  The reason why there are separate tariffs seems to be because they are gauging interest.  The difference is that you can instead sign up for a fixed tariff, where you pay extra now, but are promised that the price won’t rise, and this isn’t available on the energy share tariff.  Plus, there is a cancellation fee for coming off the energy share tariff.  I think this fee basically covers the Eco gadget (like an eco-friendly kettle) you get and that £10 pa goes into a fund for energy share.

Three Hungry Boys is a channel 4 program who last year where challenged by river cottage to live without buying food.  This years program is all about renewable energy, so they will be covering the competition.

Now Tutbury Eco Power is one of six contestants in the MEDIUM sized group.  They already have a proven track record with a Hydro Project going, and have won a pile of awards (see next weeks blog).  They are a great example of a community project because they have involved so many parts of the community that I really can’t keep track of everyone I’ve met so far!  There’s the council, the housing association, the local school, and loads of local people and groups.  For this competition they would like to expand their project to add Solar Panels to local buildings (Like schools and village halls).

Solar Power: So I did a bit of research.  If you would love a techie description of solar power go here to wikipedia.  I found a simpler description as well for the kids (and me!) here.  What was amazing was that it said that if we put solar panels in 4% of the worlds deserts, we could power the entire planet; which kind of makes me ask why we haven’t done it already?  The downsides are clouds and that the panels are expensive, but if we made more panels the cost would reduce, and deserts clouds aren’t always around, at least we don’t run out of sun, like we do fossil fuels etc.

Okey dokey that’s me done for today!  More about Tutbury coming next week.  By the way, did I mention they desperately need your votes?  They’ve spent a lot more of their time getting the community involved than learning about social media, so they are a little behind in the voting system.  Go on, give them a boost and VOTE HERE (remember it’s the medium group, and you need to check your vote went through by voting again; some people have found that they only subscribed and didn’t vote).


By the way: This is a sponsored opportunity on behalf of Tutbury Eco Power.  Because The River Cottage and Energy share love the concept of community so much, they found bloggers they considered to be great/connected/influential and asked us to support one of the finalists.  We have been paid for our time and expenses.  No projects near me in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire or London got through to the finals, which is how come I’m supporting a Staffordshire group.  However, if I thought the project I’d be assigned was rubbish, I wouldn’t have continued despite the cash.  Plus having spent a fabulous weekend at the Just So festival in Staffs, at least I can say that I have been there, next year I hope to go back via Tutbury and check out their shiny new solar panels on the local primary school and other buildings!

3 thoughts on “Learning About Solar Energy with Tutbury Eco Power and Energyshare

  1. Thank you Gary! As an update I heard today that if Tutbury get 10 more votes they will jump up to third place – so your vote really DOES count!

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