In September 2023, at Lydney Community Centre, Forest Community Energy (FCE) held a public event of workshops and talks about community energy, supported by the AURORA Project, Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), Forest of Dean District Council (FDDC).
Who are Forest Community Energy?
FCE is a community forum and group open to all, set up to reduce carbon, help people, and help the environment- the group has been set up through the AURORA project. Helping to progress the project in the Forest of Dean, the group is focussing on community solar and energy awareness projects such as promoting the upcoming community share offer for the roof top solar PV installation planned for Lydney Leisure Centre and The Dean Academy. Forest Community Energy is also working on expanding community solar to other community and commercial buildings around the district and running home energy efficiency and carbon reduction projects.
What happened at the event?
The event kick started with an introduction and update on the AURORA project from Forest of Dean District Council, and included a keynote speech from Janine Michael, local resident and Deputy Chief Executive from CSE, on the power of community energy. CSE then facilitated interactive activities exploring different facets of community energy and attendees were able to get energy advice from local energy advice service Warm and Well.
Brining in around 40 people, the event was a great success and even led to the FCE group recruiting some new volunteers! Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and member of the FCE group, Cllr Chris McFarling said: “It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the activities, gaining new information and meeting others interested in this topic. The ‘developing a local plan for renewables’ session run by Neil Best from Centre for Sustainable Energy, was valuable and thought provoking. In another activity we learned from locals about their retrofit journey and how to make homes more energy efficient and switch to renewable energy sources. Playing the energy trading board game gave us a good understanding of generation and selling of renewables in a really fun way”.
News of the event was shared locally on social media and was picked up by prominent local newspaper the Forester: https://www.theforester.co.uk/news/forest-community-energy-invites-local-ideas-on-reducing-household-bills-and-protecting-environment-643613