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How your 2016 donations are generating clean energy in Bristol

With Bristol a true festival city, it’s fitting that last year’s Energy Revolution audience donations have been invested with Bristol Energy Co-op. A huge thank you to all the festivals, suppliers and audiences who balanced over a million festival miles in 2016 by donating to Energy Revolution.

A year on and those donations are now generating clean energy with Bristol Energy Co-op (BEC). We sat down with BEC Co-Director, Andy O’Brien, to find out how the festival miles you balanced, are making a real difference to renewable energy production in the Bristol area.

Andy, how are BEC using Energy Revolution’s investment?

We’re using it to develop Greater Bristol’s local green energy supply and making the benefits available to all by funding solar panels on community roofs across Bristol and two solar farms – one in Somerset and the other in Lawrence Weston.

How much clean renewable energy does BEC produce annually?

Bristol Energy Cooperative’s annual electricity output is currently 9,105 MWh (Megawatt Hours). That’s enough to power 2,220 average homes. Of this 214 MWh are coming from our rooftop solar sites, 4,572 MWh are coming from our solar farm in Somerset, and 4,319 MWh from our solar farm in Lawrence Weston.

What happens to the electricity generated by BEC projects?

The energy from the solar farms goes to the grid, while the energy from the roofs is used to power the buildings with any surplus going on to the grid. The money saved on electricity bills is invested in the community as it is put to good use by the organisations involved.

For instance, Julian Weston, Finance Manager of Easton Community Centre said, ‘The solar panels plus other initiatives we have taken have reduced our energy costs by a factor of 50%. We think it’s a fantastic project because that saving, not only is it green and kind to the environment, it’s enabling us to use that money on other things around the centre.’

See the clean renewable energy being generated at Easton Community Centre and BEC’s other projects at the livegen website.

It’s hot and sunny in Bristol today but how reliable is solar when it’s not so sunny?

Harnessing power from solar PV is possible anywhere in the world. Although we don’t think of the UK as a particularly sunny place to live, the sun actually radiates enormous amounts of energy on the British Isles – as much as 60% of that of the equator. It may also be surprising to learn that cold bright weather helps solar panels operate more efficiently; the electricity can flow more freely through the cells thanks to a reduced resistance in its conductors.

Solar energy is already a record-breaker in 2017 – at times last May, solar power in the UK provided nearly a quarter of our electricity needs. Read more in this useful article from Bristol Energy Cooperative’s partners, Mongoose Energy.

What’s next for Bristol Energy Co-op?

BEC’s energy revolution continues. We’re planning to raise more money to invest in our solar roof projects and community solar farms through a Bond ISA with our partners Mongoose Energy.

In addition, we have now proven that we can generate community investment in order to contribute to our goal of reducing damaging carbon emissions. So as well as our work to clean up energy, we’re keen to investigate heating projects or community-funded transport.

You can keep up to date with our latest plans by signing up to Bristol Energy Coop’s newsletter.

Balance your travel with Energy Revolution before you start soaking up the sun’s rays at your favourite festival this summer . . . and then relax knowing those rays are also helping power the energy revolution.

Shambala 2016 Credit photographer CFaruolo

Celebrating charity status and three million miles balanced!

We are delighted to announce that Energy Revolution has been awarded charity status and has balanced three million festival miles to date, investing in 100% clean renewable energy through our partnerships with Converging World in India and the Bristol Energy Co-op here in the UK.

This has been achieved thanks to our festival partners encouraging audiences to balance their travel miles, and through the Supplier Member Scheme to help industry suppliers account for, and balance, their event-related travel.

Becoming a registered charity is an exciting next step for Energy Revolution as we seek to scale up the project and help lead the industry towards a low-carbon future. Festival goers choosing to balance millions of travel miles will now be able to Gift Aid their donations meaning an even brighter future for the project.

The ideas behind Energy Revolution were developed by a group of committed individuals striving to account for, and mitigate, festival-related carbon emissions, acknowledging the environmental impacts of their work and future-proofing the industry for a low-carbon economy.

Ben Robinson, Director of Kendal Calling and an Energy Revolution Trustee says ‘This is a momentous occasion for Energy Revolution and a chance to celebrate the 3 million travel miles balanced since its inception in 2015. But it’s the next 30 million miles that really matter. We want the festival industry to use its pioneering and caring spirit to help tackle climate change by balancing every festival travel mile, every year. Kendal Calling is proud to be part of Energy Revolution, and hopes that soon, all UK festivals will be joining us.’

Toby Short of Rock City Crew, one of the project’s pioneering Supplier Members, says ‘Rock City provide stage and site crew to some of the greenest festivals in the UK, but we don’t just want to keep up with their environmental initiatives, we want to help lead the way with them. That’s why, as well as having our own solar panels producing green energy, we choose to measure, account for and balance our company’s travel miles with Energy Revolution. We look forward to seeing more of the companies and clients we work with joining us to help fuel the energy revolution.

Mo Jones of TheTicketSellers says ‘We have enjoyed working closely with our partners to make it easy for audiences to balance their travel miles at the same time as buying their festival tickets. We want to thank the festivals who have committed to the Energy Revolution project with us. This feels like just the beginning of a special project to transform the public’s approach to their festival travel and we hope to bring it to many more of our partners in the coming year’.

Ours is an industry built on endurance, creativity and commitment to the cause – it’s this approach that’s going to be essential in the fight against climate change. It’s only through everyone coming together on this issue, that we’ll be able to keep the party going. If you’re not already part of Energy Revolution sign up today.

Balance your travel miles

Sign up as a Festival Organiser

Sign up as a Supplier Member

New! Our carbon-balancing service for event suppliers

This summer, we’re delighted to be launching the first carbon-balancing scheme specifically tailored to the needs of event suppliers. It’s easy to use, and we provide support for companies who wish to approach their operations more responsibly.

Using our Travel Carbon Calculator, companies can calculate their carbon emissions from journeys to and from events, and donate to Energy Revolution in order to ‘balance’ them. 100% of donations are invested in renewable energy projects; turning the carbon emissions from travel into a world-changing positive investment.

The pilot programme has been produced with support from some of the UK’s most progressive event industry companies, including Chai Wallahs, BES Systems, Rock City Crew, Charge & Store, Firefly and Greenbox Events.

On average, vehicle travel is responsible for more than two thirds of a festival’s carbon footprint. Participation from suppliers will help events and festivals significantly reduce their environmental impacts.

The Suppliers Initiative compliments our audience facing program, which raised more than £8,500 in its first year through point-of-sale travel balancing donations . The funds were invested in wind turbines in Tamil Nadu with charity The Converging World. The initiative has accounted for almost 1.7 million travel miles worth of carbon emissions to date.

Energy Revolution aims to balance 10 million miles of travel emissions in 2017, and is welcoming suppliers, event organisers, artists and artist management companies to join the movement for 2017. To find out more and join the scheme, go HERE.

Carbon calculator launches on TheTicketSellers

 

TheTicketSellers have just become the first festival industry ticket agent to integrate our travel carbon calculator! The calculator allows ticket-buyers to calculate their real carbon emissions when travelling to an event, and gives them the opportunity to donate to ‘balance’ their emissions. 100% of donations are invested in renewable energy projects, turning turns fossil-fuel travel miles into a world-changing positive investment.

The first festivals to sign up to TheTicketSellers new green service are Subsonic, Shindig, Moseley Jazz & Folk Festival, Lunar, Illusive and Nozstock.

They will join eleven pioneering festivals who joined and helped to found the project in 2015, including Bestival, Camp Bestival, Standon Calling, Boomtown, Kendal Calling, Secret Garden Party, Starry Skies, Shambala Festival and Love Saves The Day.

The calculator is fully integrated with TheTicketSellers website, so it’s really easy for an event to join the scheme. There is no cost; an event organiser simply has to tick a box to add it to their event page. The calculator has been created using Government industry carbon statistics for travel.

On average, 70% of an event’s carbon footprint comes from audience travel, so allowing the audience to donate to renewable energy projects is a very easy way to balance a negative impact with a positive action.

Seventeen UK festivals are now on board. Energy Revolution is welcoming more festivals to join the movement. To join Energy Revolution, sign up here or via your TicketSellers account.

 

1.7m travel miles turned into clean energy in our first year

Energy Revolution 1

While global leaders meet at COP21 in Paris, eleven pioneering UK festivals and their festivalgoers were taking action of their own. You, the Energy Revolutionaries, helped us crowdsource more than £8,500 in our first year, which will turn almost 1.7 million festival travel miles into clean energy.

The donations you’ve raised will be invested in two wind turbines in Tamil Nadu (pictured). Because of India’s coal-based fuel mix and the complementary activities of our investment charity Converging World, investing in renewables has around twice the impact on carbon emissions compared with investing it here in the UK.

It’s a good start that will help us set the precedent for a cleaner, green events industry and help ensure the party goes on forever. But we’re not done yet. The movement is growing and we’re looking for more events to join us. If you’d like to be a part of the Energy Revolution, head here to sign up.

If you’re a festival-goer, you can donate to Energy Revolution when you buy your festival ticket to Bestival, Camp Bestival, Standon Calling, Boomtown, Kendal Calling, Secret Garden Party, Starry Skies, Shambala Festival, Love Saves The Day, Bristol Pride and Just So Festival.

Cassandra Frey-Mills, Co-Director of Energy Revolution said “On average, a staggering 70% of a festival’s carbon footprint comes from audience travel. Some have no choice but to travel by car, but why not change those fossil fuel travel miles into something world-changing?”

The Case for Off-Grid Energy in India

The Climate Group have published a comprehensive report which supports the role of renewable energy in tackling poverty in India (The Business Case for Off-Grid Energy in India, February 2015).

The report states that approximately 360 million people in India lack adequate access to grid-electricity and another 20 million households receive less than four hours of electricity per day. To help close this gap, the Government of India has set a target of generating 100 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022.

But while grid connectivity is expected to improve over the next 10 years, at the current rate of grid expansion, urbanization and population growth, 70-75 million households will still lack access to grid electricity by 2024.

Through investments such as those made by Energy Revolution into The Converging World‘s wind turbines in Tamil Nadu, equitable access to clean and reliable energy can be provided to those who need it most in India.

IPCC: Global Energy Must be 100% Renewable

The most recent International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) report* has for the first time unequivocally stated that the world must completely phase out fossil fuels and build a 100% renewable energy infrastructure within 30 years to avoid catastrophic global warming. Powerful Thinking, Energy Revolution’s partner organisation, aims to play an active role in this global challenge by working with the festival industry to reduce fossil fuel dependance, and provide information and resources to support festivals in making necessary changes.

*Fifth Assessment Report, IPCC, published October 2014

Ten Festivals Join Energy Revolution

Ten major UK festivals launch Energy Revolution in an unprecedented festival industry collaboration. The pioneering festivals include Shambala, Secret Garden Party, Bestival, Camp Bestival, Boomtown, Love Saves the Day, Kendal Calling, Standon Calling, Wilderness and Starry Skies. Soon to be joined by more!

Energy Revolution partners give an option for festival-goers to donate to clean energy projects when they buy their festival ticket, replacing the use of dirty, non-renewable fossil fuels. Festivals and their audiences working together have the opportunity to create real change for a sustainable future, and to keep the party going forever.

Energy Revolution Launches at Event Production Show

On Thursday the 19th February, Energy Revolution launched at the Event Production Show. A distinguished panel of speakers discussed the subject ‘People Planet Profit’. Andy Lenthall (PSA) Chaired for the illuminating and engaging exploration of the topic. Tim Harvey (MAMA), Chris Johnson (Kambe / Shambala festival), Ollie Stroud (Secret Garden Party), Ben Robinson (Kendal Calling) and Chris Rutherford (Boomtown) all shared their experiences from their festivals.

The Energy Revolution initiative and its aims were covered during the panel session, as well as festival green initiatives, audience attitudes, and sustainability at festivals.

PROCESSING