Electric vehicles have become an important part of both the fight against air pollution and the move to a low-carbon economy, which is essential for reducing the effects of climate change. EVs aim to replace road vehicles, which use internal combustion engines (ICEs), by instead charging a battery which then delivers power to the motor.
The current state of EVs
Currently, the number of EVs (including PHEVs) is 2.7% of the UK’s total market. The UK government’s current plan is to stop selling internal combustion engines by 2040, although recent reports, such as by the Committee on Climate Change, have said this is too late and should be moved forward to 2035 or 2030 to meet 2050 climate change targets.
How do we boost EV numbers?
EV charging is an important part of electric vehicle deployment. Although large amounts of charging will occur at home, there will also need to be EV charging at locations such as offices, and retail and leisure facilities. In cities, a lot of people do not have off-street parking, meaning innovation in on-street charging is also required. One strategy which is often mooted to quicken the adoption of EVs is to try to make EV charging as convenient and quick as possible, aligning with the public’s current experience of refuelling an ICE.
There are three main types of EV:
For further information on EVs, 'range anxiety' and common misconceptions, check out this article.
Do you have an EV? Tell us about your charging experience!
Our energy cafes aim to help people get more value for their energy spend. They are run by volunteers trained in giving energy advice and the concept was part of CREW’s very raison d’être.
We meet at venues where there is a significant footfall and talk people through the process of choosing the best-value supplier for their circumstances. We use the Citizens Advice site to do so. This is seldom a simple process because everyone’s situation is different. The poorer you are the trickier it is to get the best deal.
Why do we offer this service?
It is helpful for people who are anxious about using computer searches to have a friendly companion when attempting to do this. Often complex telephone calls are involved too, so some support is always welcome.
If someone brings their energy bill, we can follow the online system and find a range of options. We are also alert to issues such as calculating length of contract and costs of changing suppliers. This is different from the help people get at the supermarket or on the street, where suppliers are touting for business and the necessary questions don’t always come to mind.
For those with debt problems, we can point them to helpful agencies. We are also aware of the various discounts available and can advise on simple energy-reducing actions to ensure people get the best value out of their electricity, gas and water charges.
All done over a coffee and sometimes even a piece of cake!
Find out more about our Energy Cafés here.
July was a big month for the community energy sphere, with Community Energy Fortnight (22 June - 7 July) and London’s very first Climate Action Week (1-7 July).
Throughout the two-week period, CREW members darted from event to event telling Londoners about our ongoing projects and hearing updates from our fellow community energy groups. In particular, we spoke about our LED lighting project at the Community Energy Annual Conference and attended the London Climate Action Week launch.
We took the opportunity to spread the word on social media but, in case you missed it, below are our reflections on London’s first celebration of climate action.
Sadiq Khan invited a range of organisations working hard to make London a greener, more sustainable city to the launch event of London’s first ever Climate Action Week. Following the Mayor’s declaration of a climate emergency earlier this year, Londoners have been encouraged to attend one of the hundreds of events around the capital to learn more and take action at a community level to tackle climate change.
CREW Energy attended the reception at the London Living Room in City Hall to hear both HRH Prince Charles and Sadiq Khan make impassioned speeches to move beyond the rhetoric and start taking meaningful action on climate. This was followed by interesting panel discussions from a range of climate activities and sustainability champions on how to lead change at a community, city and national level. We left feeling both inspired and informed, with greater conviction that CREW Energy can play a meaningful role in helping London become the world’s greenest, cleanest, low carbon city.
We've decided to re-brand with a new logo, name and slogan for 2019. "Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth (CREW)" will no longer be the name for the cooperative. As we've developed, both in our internal capability and in response to wider trends in the renewable energy industry, we've developed a capability beyond just installing renewable energy.
We are the first community energy group in London to complete an LED replacement project under a lighting services agreement. We offer a range of technological solutions to help community groups, businesses and home owners save energy and become more efficient. We are also launching a series of energy cafes throughout 2019 to help people reduce their energy bills, make their homes more efficient and lift out of fuel poverty.
Therefore we've decided to drop the acronym from our name and simply become "CREW". This reflects both that we offer more than just renewable energy services, and that we are also not confined just to Wandsworth, but want to work with partner organisations all across south-west London.
So from 2019 we are CREW. With a fantastic new logo thanks to a friend of the group and a new slogan - "Clean Energy - Community Power'; we look forward to going on a journey together to achieve more across a wider swathe of London.
We hope you like the new brand!
In December 2018 CREW were awarded £12,500 by the GLA's London Community Energy Fund (Phase 2) to develop our latest LED and BMS project with Devas Club.
CREW were one of 18 community energy projects that have been awarded a total of £182,000 in this second phase of the London Community Energy Fund, covering projects across 13 different London boroughs. The successful proposals include developing solar projects in time to still benefit from the Feed-in tariff (due to end in April 2019), installing electric vehicle charging points, adding battery storage to solar PV panels or even developing a community off-grid hybrid renewable system.
CREW will now be working closely with the Devas Club to transform the energy performance of the building by summer 2019
CREW have joined up with Devas Club for our next project. CREW will be helping Devas to become a more sustainable centre, saving money on their energy bills and carbon emissions. We will replace all of their lighting to LEDs, similar to our DRCA project, and also instal a Building Management System (BMS) to help manage the energy performance of the centre.
As per our standard offering, we will manage the project from start to finish, providing technical scoping and design, financing and installation support. CREW will be working with Devas to find the most cost effective way of completing the works, with payment made through the savings on future energy bills.
Devas Club is a Battersea institution, serving young people and the community since 1970. They offer a range of services including a dance studio, a recording studio and a silk-screen workshop. The main floor also houses several social areas, a computer suite, table tennis hall and an art room. The upper levels provide a large gym with weights room, and several meeting and rehearsal rooms. There is an enclosed Basketball court on the roof.
By integrating into the broader community young people feel part of that community. A Community Café is run on two weekdays and local groups regularly hire space.
Last weekend saw the UK's solar output surpass all other forms of power generation, equivalent to almost 28% of supply by lunchtime on Sunday.
Data from the government and National Grid-backed Sheffield Solar PV_Live Project shows how renewable energy has become a consistently high contributor to the UK's energy mix throughout 2018.
Have you considered installing solar PV on your household, business or community organisation?
CREW Solar is a group purchasing scheme which gives homeowners the opportunity to install a solar PV system at a discount. Find out more here.
Meanwhile, if you're interested in how CREW can help your organisation generate low cost renewable energy and a range of other measures for saving money, take a look at what services we offer.
The sixth community energy fortnight kicks off today (23rd June – 8th July). A celebration of communities who are sharing their resources, generating renewable energy and wasting less - embracing technologies as diverse as solar-PV arrays, wind turbines, hydro-electricity and biomass heat.
The Community Energy Fortnight is run by Community Energy England on behalf of the Community Energy Coalition. This year there is a great range of events being organised in London by Community Energy London.
Check out the events below:
Thursday 28th June, 5.30-8.50pm at City Hall, London.
Please register for your ticket here
This year the theme of Community Energy Fortnight is ‘energising communities’ and we’re taking this opportunity to rally together to inspire new and exisiting practitioners to come forward and engage with community energy.
Last year’s conference saw the release of the sector report for London, ‘Realising the Potential’, which examined barriers to the sector and opportunities moving forward. ‘Energising Communities’ is the next step; through a series of talks and panel discussions, CEL will explore what ‘moving forward’ looks like for London in practical terms.
This includes engaging with new stakeholders both across the sectors and within existing communities. CEL appreciates that ‘community energy’ goes far beyond solar – even in urban environments. We recognise that it is not just about energy technologies, efficiency or even fuel poverty; The key strengths of community energy are both our ability to raise awareness of energy issues, as well as to engage and empower the people that make up the many different communities across our city.
London may be at the bottom of the renewable energy and low carbon league tables today, but within our sector there is the knowledge and vision to help develop a London that leads the way and inspires other cities across the world.
Registration is at 5.30pm with speakers starting at 6pm. There will be time for networking from 8pm.
‘The Age of Stupid: film screening and panel discussion
Tuesday 3rd July, 6.30pm – 8.45pm
The Rio Cinema in Hackney will host the CEL screening of ‘The Age of Stupid’ to help raise funds for its rooftop solar project in connection with Hackney Energy.
Community Energy isn’t all about solar panels, financial models and draft excluders. It’s a varied and innovative space, which is fast becoming a more regular feature of our landscape, found in schools, housing co-ops, gardens, businesses, train stations and places of worship, to name a few.
The Age of Stupid stars Pete Postlethwaite, a future archivist looking at old footage from the year 2008 to understand why humankind failed to address climate change. Sadly this film is still hugely relevant – nowhere more so than in such a fast-paced consumerist city such as London.
The screening will take place at Rio cinema in Dalston, on Tuesday 3rd July at 6.00pm, followed by a discussion panel made up of London community energy practitioners and campaign groups who will explore the realities and future of community energy in London.
The Rio cinema is currently in talks with CEL member group, Hackney Energy, to explore the cinema’s potential to generate rooftop solar.
Tickets are £5, available through the Rio Cinema website and all sales will go towards feasibility studies for this project.
Community energy advice – Open Space!
Thursday 5th July, 6pm – 9pm at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London
Please register for your ticket here
An informal advice session for experienced practitioners and energy newbies alike. This is a welcoming space, which offers the chance to have questions discussed by community energy guides, over food and drink. We might not always know the answer, but we usually know someone who will!
Whether you just want to learn about your local community energy group, start one of your own or find out how your existing group can scale up its operations, this is the place for you!
CREW and Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) have been awarded up to £15,000 funding to generate solar power in one of Wandsworth’s most iconic venues.
CREW and BAC are targeting to meet over 50% of the venue’s demand through the installation of solar panels, while exploring further opportunities to improve the building’s sustainability including the inclusion of battery storage to serve the venue’s key demand periods during night time performances.
BAC welcomes over 100,000 people to its building every year to enjoy a wide and varied programme of over 650 shows. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in the local community, working with 5000 young people each year to stimulate creativity and interest in the arts.
Throughout the BAC’s extensive renovation programme they are endeavouring to make this Grade II listed building as sustainable as possible. Following the success of CREW’s first project with the Doddington and Rollo Community Association to retrofit LED lights and sensors through the building, this funding provides a fantastic opportunity to further improve the sustainability of another of Battersea’s community hubs.
The funding allows CREW to plan and deliver a project alongside BAC, however the cost of the actual installation is not included. For the moment, the two organisations are working together to assess the building needs, discuss plans with English Heritage and develop a financial model for the duration of the solar panel life span.
If you would like more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on BAC: https://www.bac.org.uk/
For more information on the Mayor’s Community Energy Fund winners: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-of-london-to-boost-clean-solar-energy
At our installation launch we heard from Alex Hartley who told us about the Energy Café run in Lewisham. This amazing project is something we’d like to copy and run in Battersea and Alex had a course to help us to do this. It would take 21 hours working together to learn how to help our neighbours – and ourselves – to get out of fuel debt and to get the best deal for our energy money.
We were excited and enthused by the success of the lighting installation at the Doddington & Rollo Business and Community Centre. Now we would cascade the benefits into the neighbourhood.
Just before Christmas 2017 we began. We learned so much in our first day together. For some of us the experiences we were dealing with were very near to home. For others the course was a revelation. It certainly was fun and Hadas Hagos brought refreshments from the ‘Waste Not Want Not Project’ that she runs locally to fuel our learning!
There is a lot of information to take on board. Not all of it is technical. In fact a lot of the work of an Energy Champion is to communicate with people who have serious issues with stretching their budgets to cover their fuel costs. Dealing with debt and taking back control is not instant and it is a skill that takes trust, knowledge, resources and an open mind to achieve.
We each got a low energy use LED bulb at the end of the session and shared our top tips for energy savings. I liked ‘switch off the energy vampires’, all those devices and pieces of equipment that sit quietly sucking up the electricity in the background of our technological lives.