Energy

Energy is another complement element of sustainable eco-village. This section of the blogg will guide you how to start acting on energy projects. Looking at the step by step course of action how you can proceed to a sustainable energy life style, this part of the blogg tries to show you possible energy projects that you can apply at a micro level. You will also look at case examples aiming to support, facilitate and promote your energy projects.

INTRODUCTION

Energy has always been the important element in the development of human society. However humanity is facing today a rapidly growing energy challenge as a result of increasingly becoming dependence on scarce resources. Climate change, the dependence on foreign oil and risk of reaching peak oil points are among the energy challenge we face today. These challenges have already knocked our doors and its impact is clearly visible on health, agriculture, the economy and international relations(Israel NewTech National Energy and Water Programme 2000)

To this point our consumption and approach towards energy is not Eco-friendly. Thus the moment to change towards a sustainable energy lifestyle is right now. Sustainable energy is defined in different ways. The most popular one is effectively, the provision of energy such that it meets the needs of the future without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs which is defined by Renewable energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership REEEP(2004). But here it is much better to use the more practical definition of it which is defined as “Energy which is replenishable within a human lifetime and causes no long-term damage to the environment”(JSDN Glossary of Terms). Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the main pillars of sustainable energy.

Climate change, caused principally by the emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use, is the single biggest challenge facing us today. The prospects for future generations are bleak if we do achieve huge and rapid cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Energy saving measures offer the cheapest and quickest way of dealing with carbon emissions. Better insulated homes, more efficient lights and appliances, improved heating systems with more effective controls will not only reduce carbon emissions, but will also help cut fuel bills. And changing habitually the way you use energy at home and at work- from leaving on lights to making poor use of your heating controls – can have important impacts. You can find a number of books on energy efficiency and conservation measures to identify what savings you can make. However, it is about renewable energy technologies and smart way of generating energy this part of the blogg will focus.

Renewable energy technologies have a central role to play in delivering a low carbon future. We find renewable energy technologies in the different energy mix i.e. electricity, heat and transport. In addition to energy efficiency solutions micro-generation technologies such as solar hot water, solar PV, heat pumps and biomass boilers offer a practical step for carbon reduction at a small-scale level. Start acting to change your life style on energy consumption from now on and be model for others. You can involve on energy project as individual, schools, communities, groups or organizations.

Following to this you will be presented the broader aim and vision of your eco-friendly energy project. Having discussed the aim and vision of the energy project, you will find a conceptual model for the best echo village having a carbon free energy system. The model helps to visualize some aspects of carbon-free energy system.Then, we will look at some examples of carbon-free energy projects for inspiration. Finally we will examine some practical aspects which might be a challenge for realizing most sustainable energy projects.

Vision of the Energy Project

As we are at a critical point in time where fossil fuel resources are declining rapidly and the threat of climate change are worsening, your right action will determine the future wellbeing. Generally the vision is to create a society fully engaged in sustainable energy and an economy that fully exploiting the opportunities in clean, low-carbon solutions. However, it involves different trend and occurrence as a result of the out come effect at various level. But it initially begins from you. Your present decision and action will have affect on actors, government decision, policy, the innovation and enterprise, and market. Thus you are to play a leading role in transforming a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. These could be broadly classified in to three categories; energy efficiency, low carbon energy sources, and innovation and enterprises. In the first one you are implementing energy efficiency actions that reduce energy intensity and usage. The second is that you as individual or a group to involve in the development and adopt low carbon energy sources and technologies. Thirdly you can also involve in the innovation (research/development on new and emerging technologies) and enterprise for a low carbon future. Accordingly, we only focus on low carbon energy sources and technologies. Thus you will get some information and advice to start up developing your own low carbon energy project. And once you are already motivated this will helps you for triggering your project as a cause.

Conceptual Model for a low carbon community

The transition to a low carbon life style has already begun distributed unevenly on different parts of the earth. But the extent of transformation involved is hardly any. In order to move towards the essence of a carbon free energy system, the development and adoption of technologies to exploit renewable energy sources needs to be accelerated. It involves interventions ranging from basic technology research to ultimately deployment. Here we can imagine some aspects of this change to give us a sense of where our vision may take us. These are the imperative energy forms we require in our day to day activity.

  1. Electricity supplied entirely by renewable sources, delivered via a smart, active grid. This will be achieved through intelligent deployment of resources and technologies underpinned by the best physical, policy and market infrastructure.
  2. Heat Supply; renewable sources of heating for all sectors of society which is achieved by the development and growth in renewable heat supply.
  3. Energy in Transport; a major shift in transport towards more efficient modes and technologies, including ultimately a full shift to vehicles powered by bio fuel or electricity. This will be achieved through integrated program of electric vehicle deployment along with action on alternative fuel sources and demand management.

 Where does the future will take us? Figure below shows a typical pictorial model representing where the future low carbon transition will take us.

Your role part on the energy project will contribute for the overall effect to come in the future.  You are role model and you influence the main stream to follow your footstep. You are not influencing the consumer only but also gradually to the research and development of clean technology services and products. To see where the transition to a low-carbon eco friendly society take us, assume a village completely getting its energy from a low carbon energy system. A Low carbon energy eco village is a village in which all its energy system is mainly rooted at local. A village may consist of residential houses, shops, public buildings and companies. Thus in these carbon zero eco village there is a new life style and norms for close-to-zero-carbon energy usage and services. For instance

A carbon-neutral transport system:- in a carbon-neutral transport system all the transport system is resourced from green electricity and bio fuels. There will be more use of public transport. Additionally Electric automobiles will be on the roads.

All buildings at least energy self-sufficient:- buildings will be electrified with increased local generation of electricity from renewable sources i.e. wind, Geothermal, and ocean.

 Renewable sources for heat:-here heat demand is met from sustainable heat sources using alternative heat technologies such as solar heat and bioenergy. District Heating which is to connect multiple energy users through a network that distributes heat usually as hot water is important type of heating system. Biomass is another form of renewable energy. Pallet or wood chips are used. In a wood burning stove or a boiler connected to the heating system, it will provide heat for our room and for our water. Unlike other renewable technologies burning wood does releases carbon dioxide but carbon dioxide produced will only be the same as the amount of absorbed by the tree when it was growing called carbon neutral. However, consider biomass if you have a local supplier.

Get Inspired

Muswell Low carbon zone Group is a member’s association and the group has been formed in order to reduce the volume of carbon emission and waste. The most spectacular project they are engaged on involves putting over 50,000 pound worth of 34 solar PVcells on the roofs of which is quite challenging for small group of school teachers, retired peoples and other but they have done it. And this is an example that proves to people a bottom up grass root change is possible instead of up-down.

Another currently ongoing project example is the Storvreta village members association. While there was an already built on solar heater before long years ago, the important part which is the Solar panel has broke and it is out of function now. And the Storvreta community group wants to reuse it back for district solar heat system. Everything is already infrastructured, including the ditch for conserving water. They are finding a way to install a new Solar panel. By means of a hot water circulating in every residence, each house will get heat.

Tips to create a low carbon echo-village 

–          It is most critical that in order village communities to change the way they use and source energy, first of people in that community/village need to come up together. Then discussing on their interest enable them to understand and work together for engaging in a common interest and concern. Thus people cooperation and active participation in collective action can achieve far more than acting individually.

–          During your project deployment you may need to Consult advice and project development to experts at different area.

–          For instance there are different consumers’ choices to building wind turbine in your local area,  three of these options are

1. Village money

2. Part ownership

3. Influence

You have also a  60% support from the Swedish energy agency to install solar panel for electricity generation.

How to get funding for your community energy project?

Whether you are seeking to start a new project or develop an existing one, you will almost certainly need money to make it happen. You don’t need to solely rely on fund raising events and appeals to individuals and businesses. There are different options but the question is how do you go about getting hold of it?

Grants: grants are the most common source of charitable funding. They donot need to be paid back, but there are often restrictions on how and when you can spend the money.

Loans: need to be paid back, but tend to come with fewer conditions attached. They can be useful if you need money quickly, if you need to buy new equipment or require money upfront to launch a new project. also traditional loan providers like high-street banks, there are organizations that specialize in providing finance for community groups and other good causes. Borrowing money from banks may not be an option for your project, particularly in current economic situation. However there are lenders who offer more favorable repayment terms.

You could raise funds as well by selling shares if you are to develop energy project that will make money which is know as equity finance. E.g. by selling renewable energy back in to the grid. Applying for funding can be a time-consuming and sometimes complicated process. You might need to do research, write letters fill in application forms and often wait a long time for a response. Funders will also want to see evidence of the impact their money is having, so you will need to invest time into reporting this too. Note that all funders have different aims, and you will need to demonstrate how you meet their requirements. Make sure you find out exactly what each funder expects you to provide and follow their instructions carefully.

From whom can you access funding from?

Trusts and Foundations- There are a number of trusts and foundations who funds to charities and community organizations. Most trusts and foundations work to strict criteria, so it pays to do your homework. Find out which of them are they fund work in your area and whether they have an interest in environmental issues. Prepare a specific proposal and you need to explain why you need the money, how you will spend it and what you expect to achieve.

Community foundations- Community foundations manage funds from individuals, business and other donors who want to support causes in their local area. Find your local foundations! Since their base is local they are a good source of funding for small community organizations.

Big Lottery Fund- lottery fund is one of the largest sources of funding for community groups. For every national lottery ticket sold, some part of it goes to good causes. Find out about applying for lottery funding.

Government funding- There is also government grants to community organizations or groups     aiming to reduce their carbon emission or environmental related schemes.

Local government funding- Your district or county council, or unitary authority can be a good source of funding for community groups. Local authorities spending priorities vary from place to place, but many offer grants for environmental projects. Search for local government funding opportunities in your area.

And the other is from European Funding

Reference:-

– Jamaica Sustainable Development Network. “Glossary of terms” , http://web.archive.org/web/20071130092351/http://www.jsdnp.org.jm/glossary.html

– Next Generation Oasis:Israel’s Energy Industry Electrifying Sustainable energy solutions, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute. http://www.moital.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/38B4FF18-8DAA-4452-A1FA-14E95F96DA9B/0/NewTechEnergybrochureforwebsinglesfinal.pdf

– Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership REEEP(2004), “Glossary of terms in sustainable energy regulation” http://www.reeep.org/file_upload/296_tmpphpXkSxyj

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