Time is of the essence for climate change

THE latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has given us just three years to reverse the increase in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The UK government’s energy security strategy released on April 7, the first policy update of its kind in a decade, sets new targets for offshore wind, nuclear and green hydrogen, but fails to address short-term home energy efficiency. Rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Eight new nuclear power plants promised over the next decade, driving massive CO2 emissions when we should be cutting, look more like a future of high energy prices and runaway climate change.

Communities across the country are coming up with their own alternative local energy strategies to save money and emissions right now. Settle’s Action on Climate Emergency (ACE) recently showed a film showing how a German group took over its local power plant and distribution network.

While action as drastic as this is not offered here, The Settle Group plans to engage residents to help develop a Local Energy Plan (LAEP) in consultation with our District Network Operators (DNOs) to carry out community-owned generation projects such as solar, small hydro and small-scale wind.

The reaction of those who have seen the film has been strongly favorable.

The LAEP process focuses on parishes and towns, recognizing local landscape values ​​as well as potential for energy production.

Energy saving, such as the insulation of houses, will be on the agenda. Sustainable production from local natural resources using

technologies will be prioritized and a strategy developed to exploit them. Small-scale local projects can be delivered relatively quickly.

By balancing and leveling local demand, the need for costly infrastructure to meet short peaks in demand will be reduced. The final plan will be submitted to the local authority for adoption in the local plan. Once adopted, the LAEPs will contribute to an overall regional energy strategy.

Government statistics show that in 2020 Settle, Giggleswick and Langcliffe between them consumed just over 12.25 million kilowatt hours of electricity and in 2019 29 million kilowatt hours of gas, for a combined cost to the community of almost £3.5 million.

This money was lost to the district. Recent increases in electricity and gas prices of around 80% make the situation worse. Our ambition is to generate local energy to power our homes and sustain income within our communities.

Current increases in energy prices make small-scale projects not only financially viable, but essential. Community ownership means the money we spend to run our homes will be retained in the local economy, encouraging job opportunities and providing resilience to future energy shocks.

In the pre-industrial town of Craven, hydroelectricity powered the local wool industry and we have lots of rain and wind. Conserving our limestone landscape and wilderness is important to our tourism economy, especially in the National Park. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) actually supports small-scale hydropower projects on historic mill sites.

Onshore wind, overlooked in the government’s strategy, is currently the cheapest form of renewable energy available. At an appropriate scale, local community wind turbines have been accepted by planners, where landscapes are not compromised, and the government’s strategy allows communities that have agreed on a wind project to move forward. ‘before.

The popularity of solar power has driven down panel prices, while improved performance makes the panels efficient on most non-north-facing roofs, while rising energy prices make the rooftop solar energy viable without subsidy.

Improved battery technology has enabled innovative ways to store excess production, balance domestic demand and reduce bills.

Community participation is key to maximizing benefits for households and communities.

Planning workshops are taking place in Settle, the first on Saturday May 21 from 10am to 3.30pm at St Mary and St Michael’s Catholic Church, Tillman Close, Settle.

Based on a format called Future Energy Landscapes developed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), two workshops will address landscape issues, followed by technologies, at a conference event. ‘a day.

A second short workshop, about a month later, will reflect community feedback before engaging in detailed design, financial feasibility studies and planning applications.

We are looking for volunteers to participate in these events. No technical knowledge is required, ACE Settle can provide it. Local awareness and community spirit is what we seek.

If you are interested or want to know more, please contact us through our website: http://acesettleandarea.org/

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