A busy year for Energise Sussex Coast is detailed in our Director’s message for the 2016-17 Annual Report, which you can download at the bottom of this article.
This has been a momentous year for ESC, now a team of five staff, one full time and four on flexible contracts.
With statutory and grant funding on the wane 2016 saw us start the transition from a 100% grant funded organisation to a community energy services provider.
2016 for us was all about partnerships – real partnerships – with organisations who are both our friends and colleagues.
We have regular meetings with other local organisations including Citizens Advice 1066 (CA1066) and the Seaview Charity for the homeless. And out of these several important and innovative projects have emerged.
ESC remains committed to its founding goals – to tackle fuel poverty through innovative community energy ownership schemes
Old friends and colleagues in the Community Energy network around the UK, particularly Community Energy South, Ouse Valley Energy Services Company (Ovesco), Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-op (BHESCO) and the Schools Energy Co-op remain close as ever. This spirit of big hearted co-operation and shared vision helped us all survive 2015 and the unhelpful dismantling of all the tax incentives that underpin community owned renewable energy.
ESC remains committed to its founding goals – to tackle fuel poverty through innovative community energy ownership schemes that share local renewable energy and fund the retrofit of local homes – but to date we have pretty much left local energy generation to other co-ops and focused almost entirely on providing free energy advice to vulnerable residents, mainly because the deprivation and poverty stats in our locality are so awful.
In 2016 though we have felt the first breath of the global energy revolution hit the UK with smart grid innovations like Energy Local a potential game changer for the community energy sector. This makes the next two years – while we ride the challenges and opportunities of working with Hastings Borough Council, Optivo and CA1066 on two big EU projects – both exhilarating and transformative.
Don’t shout it out loud yet but we think there’s a change coming.
A community led, grass roots, radical change in the way we will generate and use energy in the future.
Richard Watson, Director, Energise Sussex Coast
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