Saving and Generating Energy – The Co-operative Way

On the 6th October 2020, Co-operative Alternatives hosted a webinar entitled ‘Saving and Generating Energy – the Co-operative Way’. We invited Karen Arbuckle and Anne Ford, the respective Chairs of Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE) Ltd and Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative. Both speakers gave us an insight on how a group of committed citizens could form a co-operative and start generating electricity from renewable resources in Northern Ireland. They both described their journey including challenges and opportunities for the future.

Following a Q&A session, Prof Tom Woolley examined what can be done to insulate homes in Northern Ireland. Tom listed some of the support schemes currently available in UK and denounced the local grant schemes as insufficient and unable to address the major issue of fuel poverty in the region. Tom also looked at the approach that housing co-operatives and specialised retrofitting co-operatives such as the Carbon Co-op, of which he is a member, have taken to help individuals and families across the UK. Proper advice, innovative and natural materials (such as hempcrete and wool) and careful selection of providers/installers seemed to be best delivered in a co-operative form. Tom concluded that attention must be given to local products such as wool and hemp to support supply chains and keep the whole process as ‘green’ and at ‘low carbon impact’ as possible.

Karen’s presentation can be viewed here

Anne’s presentation can be viewed here

Tom’s presentation can be viewed here