All posts by mary

CLIMATE CHANGE: THE PERFECT PROBLEM

Psychologists describe climate change as precisely the kind of problem that our brains are programmed to switch off from.  On Thursday 28th April, Adrian Tait, co-founder of Climate Psychology Alliance and chair of Transition Athelney on the Somerset Levels, described his personal journey to facing the issues involved and facilitated a discussion on the provocative video clip How to Talk to a Climate Denier (George Marshall, YouTube).   He was effective in encouraging the audience to participate and there was a broad consensus that “denial” is now less of a problem than is “turning a blind eye”.  He guided the conversation towards a deeper level of reflection on which he helped maintain the discomforting tension between facile over-optimism and hopeless despair.

In fact, wrestling together with some unusually difficult thoughts turned out to be not just intellectually stimulating but ultimately inspiring, thereby demonstrating George Marshall’s thesis that identifying and highlighting the rewards involved in making tough changes should always be a part of our communication strategy.

Christow Solar School

The campaign to raise £10,000 for solar PV panels for Christow School exceeded expectations.  Thanks to hard work from parents, pupils, governors and the community, with guidance and inspiration from Solar Schools (10:10 campaign) almost £15, 000 was raised putting 10KWp set of panels on the roof and with digital displays in the school showing the amount of energy being generated and carbon being saved, allowing the topic of sustainability to be taught in the classroom in new ways.

With digital displays in the school showing the amount of energy being generated and carbon being saved, the 10KWp set of panels will also allow the topic of sustainability to be taught in the classroom in new ways. The solar panels, on the Hedgemoor classroom, are expected to generate 7.8 megawatt hours of electricity per year, saving over three tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Green Electricity

Thought about changing to a sustainable electricity supplier?

We have reviewed the options and recommend ECOTRICITY as our favourite green supplier. This is because:

Of all the electricity suppliers, they have the highest spend on investment in renewable electricity generation (£265 per customer p.a.).  Ecotricity operates a not-for-dividend model so all profits are invested in wind farms etc.

From 1st August 2013, 100% of its electricity is generated from renewables.  The UK average is 11.3% (2012/13).
Investment has been primarily in wind but ecotricity are now constructing their first solar PV farm and are building anerobic digesters for green gas.
There is no premium for being green – the tariff is lower than the local supplier, EDF.
Green gas is available as well, currently imported from Holland.
Whilst there are companies that supply 100% green electricity (Good Energy, Green Energy for example) they invest little or nothing in generation but buy in their electricity from others.

Ecotricity now have a dual-fuel tarrif which is lower than BG and it’s guaranteed to be using “frack-free” gas, as well as being entirely green.

They also have the lowest number of complaints per customer of any supplier which has to be good.  In addition they have electric car charging points in nearly all motorway service stations and are looking a developing wave power.

A bonus for Greener Teign is that we receive £20 for every household that switches to Ecotricity.

To switch, go to Ecotricity and click on the ‘switch’ link under the Greener Teign logo, bottom right, or call 08000 302 302 and quote Greener Teign.

Switching is easy and doesn’t cause supply problems.

Feed-In-Tariffs

FITs apply to microgeneration projects for the following technologies: wind, hydro, solar photo-voltaic, anerobic digestion and microCHP.  The rates were originally set to produce a very generous 5-8% return on capital and run for 20 or 25 years from the date of installation.  In spite of the bad press that the recent drop in FITs has produced, solar PV installers are still claiming that returns of 14% can be acheived.

Renewable Heat Incentive

RHIs are similar to FITs but apply to microgeneration technologies producing heat rather than electricity. The commercial and community scheme started first and is generous. The domestic scheme started in the spring of 2014 and is different from the commercial one.  The priniciple used is for the RHI to allow householders to recover the capital cost over a seven year period. It includes solar thermal (hot water) systems, biomass boilers, biomass stoves using pellets and ground source heat pumps.  Details of the scheme  are here.

The Green Deal

This is a government scheme to provide loans for energy efficiency measures (insulation etc) and microgeneration systems (solar thermal, solar PV, heat pumps, biomass etc). The loans are repaid though electricity bills, the key feature being that the savings generated by the new additions will be not be less than the loan repayments (the Golden Rule) so there will be no net cost to the homeowner. The loan is lodged against the property and repayments are made by whoever pays the electricity bill, be they the owner, tenant or subsequent owner (where the property is sold). More details can be found here.

We are currently backing the Campaign to Divest from fossil fuel companies

Bill McKibben of 350.org makes a powerful case for something positive we can all do to help solve the climate crisis: follow and support the Divest movement which is already gathering momentum.

Write/email/talk to those organisations which invest in fossil fuel companies especially those in which we have a direct interest (banks, pension funds, universities, the church) and argue they must divest from such companies. We have drafted a letter for students/ex students to send to their universities. Please use it. If enough us do it, it will make a difference.