Monday, March 29, 2010

Rosie's Green Matters - 1st April

Deal With IT's Co-ordinator, Rosie Rechter this week writes our regular column in the East Kent Mercury :
Sustainable Community
One definition of the ideal sustainable community lists five dimensions
  • Increase local economic diversity
  • Self reliance
  • Reduction in the use of energy and careful management and recycling of waste products
  • Protection of biological diversity and stewardship of natural resources
  • Social justice
Just an idealist’s dream? Well no actually. The little island of Westray in the Orkney Islands off Scotland is well on its way to becoming the UK’s first self sufficient community. Faced by serious economic problems and increasing depopulation, in 1998, they formed a Development Trust.
Following the above five guide lines, they created a bio-fuel plant for the island’s cars using old cooking oil, built a methane plant using slurry and grass, have an electric car powered by a small wind turbine, one of the finest organic salmon farms, a wonderful diversity of wild life and a flourishing and growing community which will be enriched by their new wind turbine, an Enercon E44 (900KW) which is now up and running and already creating an income for the community. Initially, Westray Development Trust hope to earn £100,000 each year from the clean energy they generate, and this will rise to over £200,000 annually over the course of the turbine’s life. Could we learn something from this success story?

At our Green Forum on Renewable Energy last week, a member of the audience pointed out that while the solutions we were offering for people to generate their own renewable energy by making an investment in solar energy, and also covering the possibility of DIY solutions for those with the necessary skills (16 people signed up for the planned workshops to mentor people who wanted to do this) that still left a lot of people unable to join in the financial advantages on offer.

Community generated clean energy is of course the most efficient way of providing a secure energy source for the future. Could Deal in 10 years time enjoy some of the advantages that Westray is enjoying today?

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