Energising Interest

web_selcelogoThe Ashmead junior school in our road at home, has recently had solar panels installed on it’s roof space by SELCE.  Cooperative entrepreneurs formed ‘South East London Community Energy’ in 2015 to ensure the mutual benefits of renewable energy and reduced operational costs for local schools, whilst offering realistic proposal for anyone interested, even with minimal funds to invest.

best-roof-shot-by-selim-korycki-768x512A successful campaign to raise the initial £250k by end of 2015, made it possible for the first four installations to have been activated already. Despite reduction in the feed-in tariff for those collecting more than they use, SELCE was able to ‘pre-accredit’ a further four local community buildings before the rate cut. A second shares issue to underwrite those costs is due to start shortly and will still be able to offer investors annual interest of around 4%.

GCDA support cooperative development in the Greenwich area. They offer project development and training for catering and health initiatives, host MIG kitchens and operate WCCC community centre in Woolwich! GCDA also support community empowerment projects locally and SELCE are currently based in their incubator office.

msclusterThough our initial work with Minesweeper Collective as part of Mazi project pilot in Deptford Creek, we have talked a lot about how improvements to energy infrastructure could have a huge impact on quality of life and sustainability for those living on boats or otherwise off-grid. Wind turbines and solar collectors have long been used in these situations where fixed land connections for mains power are scarce. Harvested energy is stored in large batteries which need monitoring and management then safe, low loss re-distribution.

Boattr project illustrates some of these issues with DIY solutions to regulate energy and integrate with on board computers and sensors. Various initiatives are underway to bring these issues together and offer complimentary tool for those setting up autonomous energy systems.

Recent pressure on housing in London has put fresh pressure on city waterways to supply power, process rubbish and curb water contamination resulting from increased numbers of river users. Canals across the UK are very active for the first time in generations yet infrastructure facilities remain limited. More could be done to share the wealth of information available between these isolated communities so MAZI will focus on some of these issues to further research and promote solutions locally.

Thames Tideway is a huge infrastructure project in progress along the length of the Thames to relieve sewerage load on several key vulnerable locations not least at the Greenwich Sewerage works adjacent to the creek. Their progress west to east will effect many users of the Thames and it’s tributaries. Understanding this, they have embarked on a charm offensive which has already visited the creek on several occasions to press for acknowledgement and make its case for worthwhile disruption. During the meeting with Friends of Deptford Creek discussion focussed on practical use of 500GT barges in the creek, the effects of dredging on the structure of the river ecology and swell effect of moving large boats on the smaller vessels moored there, not least the minesweeper cluster.

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