Public sector community sustainability award won by DCC
Posted on: 1 December 2016
Devon County Council has won a prestigious award for helping communities start up their own renewable energy projects.
Councillor Roger Croad, DCC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Kate Royston, chair of the South West Devon Community Energy Partnership and the Tamar Energy Community, and Doug Eltham, DCC’s Environment and Sustainability Policy Officer received the Public Service in Devon Award.
The accolade was awarded at the Met Office recently, and was part of the Devon Environmental Awards 2016. It recognised the most environmentally sustainable initiatives by a Public Sector organisation in Devon.
DCC’s successes include securing community ownership of two solar PV arrays by Exeter Community Energy, at Great Moor House and Exeter Library. The council’s start-up financing of two community energy partnerships, one centred on the North Devon Biosphere and the other in South West Devon, was also praised.
The two partnerships have successfully brought together energy groups, councils and the third-sector to work on issues including energy planning, energy efficiency and fuel poverty in communities.
DCC has also worked with RegenSW to deliver a support programme that awarded grants to 18 community organisations for projects, provided technical assistance for grant applications, carried out rooftop solar and hydro assessments and commissioned a film to encourage new groups to develop local energy projects.
And through DARE and Resource Futures DCC has provided resources to incorporate energy issues into school curriculums.
As a result pupils in 49 Devon schools have been involved in behaviour-change campaigns and energy auditing with 78% of schools reducing energy consumption by at least 5%, with 57% reducing consumption by 15% or more.
In total 88% reported that they were now trying harder to save energy as a result of the campaign.
DCC also commissioned the first, free Community Energy Legal Toolkit in the UK to help communities develop their own wind, hydro, rooftop solar PV and ground mount solar PV projects.
Councillor Roger Croad said: “Community ownership of energy schemes helps raise awareness and understanding of energy issues, retains money in local economies, enhances skills, improves resilience and lowers carbon emissions.
“DCC understands that communities are central to addressing long-term sustainability issues such as energy use and carbon emissions and to achieve this it is vital we educate our young people from an early age.
“We know that action taken collectively to address local issues can be incredibly effective.
“DCC’s Strategic Plan, Better Together, pledges to support community groups to enable communities to have greater influence and control and commits to working together to reduce energy needs and promote renewable energy.”
There is still an opportunity for community organisations interested in developing their own renewable energy schemes to receive assistance funded by DCC from DARE before the end of the financial year. Contact DARE.
Posted in: Community | DCC Homepage | Environment