BEN Presents: Bristol Community Energy Forum, 15th September 2012

The Bristol Community Energy forum aims to bring people together in a day long event to share ideas, resources and skills, to demonstrate projects and opportunities and to build and grow community energy groups.

Register your ticket here:

Come along if you are:

             – a member of one of the growing number of community energy groups in and around Bristol

             – an individual with an interest in community energy

             – an organisation willing to give time or resource to support the sector


The forum will host keynote speakers from DECC (speaker to be confirmed) on national policy updates relating to the Green Deal and Renewable Heat Incentive and Tobi Kellner from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), on CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report.  Alongside more practical workshops from Bristol’s community energy groups this line up promises to be interesting and informative. 

All squeezed into one tent, the day will run from 10.30 to 4.30 with time for socialising before and after. The venue is Bristol’s newest creative hotspot, the Big Top @ Creative Common, next to Bristol Temple Mead’s.

Inside the tent there will also be space available for communities to display information. All members are urged to make use of this space and encourage others to get in touch if they would also like to display information. The new community LEAF exhibition will also be on display. If you would like to hold a stall please contact jake at 

Forum Program:

Two Keynote speakers: 

1).  DECC, (speaker to be confirmed) introduced and chaired by Simon Roberts OBE, 

2). Toni Kellner, from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) on Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report


Morning Workshop session:

A). Streets of Solar – a community led and community owned solar PV project on track to power up 300 Lockleaze homes (lead by Bristol Power Cooperative)

Bristol Power Co-op and Bristol Areas Solar Installer Co-op (BASIC) installed solar panels on 13 homes in Lockleaze in July in a field trial of a model for community-owned renewable energy. The community reaction from this limited trial has been very positive, and it's planned to extend the scheme to 300 homes between now and October. Other groups in other parts of Bristol are showing interest in replicating the scheme. The workshop will show how it's done and cover solar basics, community engagement, how the field trial worked, and whether/how the numbers stack up.

B). Community Energy Champions – Easton’s new network of volunteers advising people on ways to power down, including solid wall insulation for 100 local homes (lead by Easton Energy Group)

One of the biggest problems people face with reducing energy and carbon emissions is that they don't know where to go for information and who to trust. Easton Energy Group is setting up a network of volunteer Community Energy Advisors, who will be given training and resources to help them advise their communities on basic energy saving measures, where to go for grants and how the Green Deal works. Participants will discuss the structure of the programme, how to improve it and whether it can be rolled out across the city in other community Green Deal approaches. The workshop will further outline how the Easton advisors are supporting a project with local consultancy Sustain, which aims to install solid wall insulation on 100 houses by the end of 2012.

C). Roles for Community Groups in delivering the Green Deal – Bristol University research on powering up and powering down Bristol though the Green Deal (lead by Bristol University)

This workshop will discuss the different roles that community groups can play in helping householders or local businesses in Bristol access the Green Deal. It will identify some of the things that community groups would be required to do (especially in terms of adopting certain structures) if they chose to carry out that role. It will also briefly explore whether alternative avenues to the Green Deal, such as a Bristol-specific Energy Services Company or bulk-buying schemes, would better suit community groups. It will be run by Caroline Bird and Anna King who are working with Bristol University to support Bristol community groups in maintaining momentum in the wake of the LEAF grants.

D). DIY solar panels – empowering people to share skills and knowledge on generating renewable energy and the importance of cutting our energy use. (lead by Demand Energy Equality)

Ever wondered how to make your own solar PV panels? What would this do to your understanding of energy and your relationship to it? In this workshop Demand Energy Equality will explain and debate their model of empowering people to share skills and knowledge and cascade out messages through solar PV. The workshop is also an opportunity to find out about their current project, the solar tree and how to get involved!


Afternoon Workshop session:

E). A reality check on cross Bristol community energy projects and the best options for powering up and powering down our city (lead by Bristol Energy Cooperative

We all have limited time and energy for community energy projects. However some projects might be easier to deliver collaboratively by groups across Bristol, and some projects have potential to generate revenue which could pay for our time. This session will be facilitated by Bristol Energy Co-op and will be a chance to discuss opportunities for cross-Bristol projects. A synthesis of the opportunities identified in the LEAF energy assessments together with a summary of post-LEAF opportunities discussed at the BEN meeting in June (including neighbourhood planning, street energy advisers, bulk buying) will be used as headlines for discussion. The aim is to carry out a reality check on how possible these opportunities are to deliver in real life, and the likely routes to making them happen in terms of time commitment; people-power; financial constraints; and how existing knowledge, experience and expertise can be built on.

F). ELENA (Bristol City Council) – powerful European funding for a Bristol based ESCO to retrofit the city (lead by Bristol City Council)

Bristol City Council recently started it's European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme, that will utilise £2.5m of grant funding to develop project concepts into delivery. Kieran Highman is leading on the Green Deal, and the focus of this workshop will be an information exchange and discussion to understand how communities and BCC can support each other in shaping and delivering the Green Deal in Bristol – such as the roles of each party, the needs for measures, grant funding opportunities, timescales, innovative funding/delivery models, etc.

G). Zero Carbon Britain in real life (CAT) – making choices about powering up and powering down in a national context (lead by Tobi Kellner, CAT)

Tobi Kellner is a Renewable Energy Consultant at the Centre for Alternative Technology ( and will use this workshop to bring to life some of the issues in the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report. To power the whole of the UK (electricity, heat & transport for all sectors) we will need industrial-scale developments in addition to lots of small-scale generation, and this will mean that in one way or another large areas of land will be involved. Should we cover miles and miles of Cornwall in solar farms? Or establish willow biomass plantations? But would that produce enough energy? How do you decide where to site wind turbines? The workshop will be run as a game based on the map of the UK and will stimulate discussion about what our options are and what choices need to be made.



It will take place from 10am to 4.30 pm in the amazing new big top at Creative Common, next to Temple Meads railway station. This is a free event, including lunch and a band after the event for anyone who wants to make a night of it. Please only book if you are sure you will be able to come!

Register for your FREE ticket here

If you have any questions about the event please do not hesitate to contact us at

Finding the event:

The site is on the former car park next to the station – look for the 'Creative Common' signs next to Isambard Walk.

Creative Common, Bristol Temple Quarter

Temple Meads

Bristol BS2 6DG