Today and tomorrow:
Here’s a snapshot of how energy projects have been doing in the Sid Valley.
Back in 2016 we wrote:
SidEnergy is the community energy group for the Sid Valley covering Sidmouth, Sidford and Sidbury in Devon.
The aims of SidEnergy are to engage the community in energy and climate change issues and to provide economic and social benefits to the community by improving energy use and reducing fuel poverty. Our efforts are focussed in three areas:
- education about energy and climate change: we contribute to holding Climate Change Week and the Sidmouth Science Festival
- conservation of electricity, gas and transport fuel: including switching energy suppliers, reducing energy bills and tackling fuel poverty
- generation of electricity locally:- we are collaborating with other community energy groups to identify community buildings in the Sid Valley, such as schools, for solar PV systems
SidEnergy is run by volunteers and group members can provide independent, impartial advice on:
- switching energy suppliers – we usually have a table at the monthly farmers’ market at Kennaway House and can check if a better deal is available for gas and electricity; bring in a recent utility bill
- how to save money on electricity and gas bills by reducing energy consumption
- renewable energy, battery storage and other new energy technologies.
SidEnergy was originally the Sid Vale Energy Action Group, members of which formed a community enterprise, SidEnergy Limited, with the intention of raising money to install solar PV panels on community buildings. In autumn 2015 government suddenly changed its policy on community energy and our potential projects were no longer financially feasible. The limited company was deregistered in June 2016.
Join us! We are keen for new members to join our friendly informal group and hold meetings every three months or so in a local pub.
SidEnergy can be contacted through our Contacts page.
There are some great initiatives happening:
Cornwall Local Energy Market: trials prove successful – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Energy transtion: from Devon to Ungersheim – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Whilst the SidEnergy project has had to be put on ice, there has still been activity:
- The VGS has supported the Power to the People group pushing for the Local Electricity Bill: The community energy revolution: further progress – Vision Group for Sidmouth
- SidEnergy has been contacted by local and national groups interested in renewable energy projects.
- SidEnergy has been represented on the Science Festival’s Clean Growth project at the beginning of 2020: The Clean Growth project from the Science Festival – Vision Group for Sidmouth and Clean Growth for Sidmouth 2020 – Vision Group for Sidmouth
The Neighbourhood Plan has several Policies on energy:
Policy 19: Renewable energy and green employment initiatives will be supported and encouraged. https://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/3454115/svnp-adopted-version.pdf:
I do think that this could be pushed a little: the problem is resources.
The Town Council and its Environment Cttee is also interested in these issues – and has adopted its Environment Policy:
Sidmouth Environment Policy – Vision Group for Sidmouth
And under ‘low carbon town’, it specifies: Support the appropriate generation and use of renewable and low carbon energy.
The Cttee is also keen to get going with a local carbon footprint project as part of the STC’s action plan; in October 2020, the Cttee had a presentation from Jo Earlam, author of Rosa’s Footprint:
And Jo is keen to push this too:
There are plans for the revitalisation of the Sid Valley, which might include both local and national initiatives:
Should Sidmouth have its own e-trike service? Press reports – Vision Group for Sidmouth
A green industrial revolution? – Vision Group for Sidmouth
And there is keenness to promote the Sustainable Sidmouth brand with various awards – which might include a joint Sustainable Sidmouth & SidEnergy prize to the business which is doing most to reduce its carbon footprint:
Sustainable Sidmouth and the Transition Town movement – Vision Group for Sidmouth
In other words, there is clearly interest locally to do something on energy through projects and initiatives.