The main event was the installation of the 10kw solar PV panels on the lower roof of the Lavenham Village Hall in November 2015. The 40 all- black panels were erected by local company Solarworks. Members of Transition Lavenham contributed to part of the equity for the financing of the installation which was provided by a new company Transition Finance (Lavenham) Limited which leased the roof from Lavenham Community Council, the owners of the hall.
The solar PV is welcoming the return of the spring and summer to produce free electricity at its most prolific. It is hoped to use the summer surplus electricity to power air source to air heat pumps in their alternative mode to provide some cooling of the main hall and function room when outside temperatures are high with climate change.
A disappointing event was the closure of the WRAP study for food waste anaerobic digestion due to the precedence of burning the black bin residual waste in the Energy-for-Waste plant at Blakenham to reconcile a “put-or-pay” agreement between Sita and Suffolk County Council. To separate the food waste from the black bin and commercial waste would have required investment in small wheelie bins and caddies and an education campaign for the domestic and commercial cooks, which would then have added to the gate fees for its processing and disposal.
A real local solution may be to collect food waste from houses, hotels and restaurants, just in Lavenham, for anaerobic digestion close to the sewage collection station using an electric truck.
Success has been achieved by the Parish Council in getting LED street lighting underway, with consultancy help by Transition Lavenham member lighting expert John Hooper.
The UK’s energy policy is currently in disarray, with the massive reduction in feed-in-tariffs for solar PV and renewal heat incentives for anaerobic digestion. The government may return to incentivising renewables once the current rush of cheap oil and gas slows and the nuclear renaissance is stemmed with the escalating costs of new station build.
We need a programme of public consultation to promote the establishment of distributed energy with local electricity and gas production able to make use of the existing wires and reduce dependence on central generation. Energy saving with smart systems to turn off that when not needed and introduction of low energy appliances such as LED lighting which uses but 11% of the wattage of a filament bulb.
Meanwhile oil and gas production in the North Sea is failing and fracking is an unlikely pursuit in the UK, as the tight regulation demanded in the light of the huge problems it is causing in the US will make it even more uneconomic than it is in the US.
Transition Lavenham remains a vital part of Lavenham life and future and welcomes new members to join in its work.