The first was the Carbon Co-op, a membership organistion based across the city that brings people together to understand more about energy use in the home and take action to address it through community education, retrofit projects and data and experience sharing (amongst much else!). They've just recieved three years of European funding to implement open-source smart meters (developed by the also-excellent Open Energy Monitor project) and community aggregation(!) in a co-operative context to explore the challenges and possibilities of using this kind of technology to drive behaviour change. They ran a session bringing in contributors from different sectors, including ourselves, the local 'DNO' (local grid operator), academics, the National Energy Foundation and campaign group 10:10. It was a fascinating day with lots of interesting ideas shared. If you're interested in knowing more about the project, just get in touch with Carbon Co-op!
Not to finish there, we spent the next day running a DIY solar workshop on a gorgeously sunny allotment in Cadishead near Barton Moss, recent site of an exploratory fracking rig operated by IGas. In reponse to the threat to their community posed by this project, local residents came together to form Moss Community Energy, which will explore sites and raise money for community-owned renewable installations to generate low-carbon power and tackle fuel poverty.
The group has been supported so far by the national campaign group 10:10, and we were asked to run a session teaching group members how to build their own solar panels, to donate to another local allotment, as a fitting celebration of the group's inaugaration. We were only too happy ro oblige - and had a fab time doing it.
Thanks to all those who made our stay up north so much fun! See you again...