York Community Energy

2017 AGM report: is Manchester really so much Greater?

Cllr Waller presenting at our 2017 AGM

York Community Energy held our 2017 AGM at the Friends Meeting House on October 10th, with success stories from Greater Manchester and exciting news about the progress toward community energy in York.

As usual, we got the official business out of the way quickly and moved on to our panel of speakers. YCE Chair Richard Lane kicked things off with a review of the successful year YCE had had since the last AGM. This included the study tours of the hydro power Archimedes screw at Linton on Ouse and of Edinburgh, where community owned solar power has become a reality thanks to the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative. He also described how YCE had benefited from the generous support of the “Duct Apes” – a team from Martin Design Associates which competed in the 2016 Micklegate Run soap box race. YCE also passed a milestone, having recently accepted our 100th member.

Andrew Waller, the City of York Council’s Executive Member for the Environment described the council’s ongoing efforts to use more sustainable energy, including an innovative use of repurposed electric car batteries at the Eco Depot.

Cllr Waller then went on to make a very important announcement for YCE and the future of community energy in York: City of York Council will be partnering with YCE to develop a project for community owned solar on the roof of a Council building. We have a specific prime candidate in mind which we are investigating together, along with alternatives – keep watching our website for more about this project!

Andy Hunt talks about GMCR, Oldham Council and COALESCE.

Andy Hunt, a Director of Greater Manchester Community Renewables and also then gave the final presentation, showing how community owned solar energy had become a reality in Greater Manchester, and how this had now been expanded to Oldham with the assistance of an initial loan from the local authority. Oldham Community Power then managed to raise a staggering £120,000 to pay off the loan. He also told us about the pan-European “COALESCE” group: Community Owned And Led Energy for Security, Climate change and Employment. This is an international research group studying the benefits of community energy in all the different forms it takes across Europe. A recent study tour to Germany included a visit to Möggingen in Germany: a village that is a net exporter of low-carbon bio-energy.

As part of the AGM, all existing committee members were re-elected to their posts, and joined by two new additions. Tom de Simone, one of our first Supporter Members, joins as an ordinary committee member, whilst Kit Bennett was elected as Vice-Chair. We also took the opportunity to canvas our members’ opinions about priorities for the coming year.

With a good working relationship established with the Council, we’re looking forward the progress we’ll be making over the next year. Stay tuned for the next announcement!