About Bristol Energy Network
About the network:
The Bristol Energy Network is an umbrella organisation for all community energy groups in Bristol and the surrounding area. It aims to facilitate and promote the diverse activities and projects undertaken by its community energy group members by
- cascading news, information and policy updates from local partners and national organisations,
- acting as a conduit between local groups and external organisations and
- providing an open platform for the sharing of resources, ideas and debate through regular open meetings.
The network is strongly action-orientated but does not undertake specific projects itself. Instead it seeks to promote collaboration between existing and new groups for the benefit of all.
Since the network's inception in 2010 it has, amongst other things, been a springboard for the formation of Bristol Green Doors, the launching of the Bristol Energy Co-operative's share offer, the promotion of Demand Energy Equality's Solar Tree and a platform for the sharing of knowledge gained through nine successful Bristol-based Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF) grants at the beginning of 2012.
The network is made up of the community energy groups that constitute it and supported by local partner organisations such as the Centre for Sustainable Energy, the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and the Converging World. The network is funded through a small grant by Bristol Green Capital but energised by a small group of volunteers.
How did it start?
Bristol Energy Network was created by the founding members of the Easton Energy Group which was formed early in 2009 as a voluntary community energy awareness and advice group based and focussed in the Easton area of Bristol. The founding members of the Easton Energy Group and the Bristol Energy Network were (and still are!) all specialists working in the energy and/or sustainability sector.
Paul Adams (PhD researcher in bioenergy, Bath University)
Daniel Narayanan (Energy Engineer, Bristol)
David Tudgey (Environmental and Sustainability Consultant, Bristol)
Inigo Uribeechevaria (Energy Assessor, Bristol)
We have also had a considerable amount of help from other individuals such as Stephen Moore, Morgan Griffin, Bridget Newbery and Jacob Barnes to name just a few.
“In creating and exploring ideas and projects within the Easton Energy Group, we found that a number of other community groups across the city were either partly or entirely focussed on energy awareness also. Previously there has been minimal sharing of information, ideas, resources, and skills across these different groups, and when we dug a little deeper we also found a number of cases where ideas were similar but skills, time and resources had not been shared, hence there was some duplication of work where instead improved collaboration could have made things less time consuming.
We figured that since most other people who formed these groups were like ourselves (working full time, building our careers, trying to keep our relationships and social lives going, etc. etc.), it would be extremely useful for everyone to have a central place to discuss ideas, successes and failures, to share resources, and just to do some friendly networking. Hence the Bristol Energy Network was born.”
Dan Narayanan, founding member of Bristol Energy Network
The network has been built upon volunteer time and effort. It would not have been possible to get this far without the support and commitment of many local organisations. They have been instrumental in setting up the network and developing its capacity and ability to function.
Whilst one of the primary aims of the network is to facilitate the exchange of information between community energy groups and wider organisations we would specifically like to thank the following organisations for the considerable time and effort put into the network.
- Centre for Sustainable Energy
- Bristol City Council, in particular the Sustainability Team
The network has also received financial support through Bristol Green Capital’s Community Challenge Fund.Initially receiving £ 500 in round three (April 2011) to set up the network and a further £ 2,700 in round four (April 2012). The grant received in round four has been designated to 6 open public meeting throughout the course of the financial year and £ 300 towards materials for the network event stall.
All administration, networking and co-ordination is done by volunteers.