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Hello from Community Energy South!

This month we bring you a report on the Community Energy England event 'Life after FiT's'. There is an invitation to join the South East Climate Alliance as well as information on an exciting job opportunity with Riding Sunbeams, working with students through STEM in Lewes, and news on some of the events that Community Energy South has been (and will be) attending!
We love Greta and David

A thought for community energy and momentum in making big change happen. After a month of activism, the impact of the extinction rebellions, Attenborough's Climate Change documentary, schools climate change strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg, Brexit mayhem and we hear that the Trump Baby's nappy is being dusted off....grrrr

Send your marching and campaign photo's to us and we will post them on our next newsletter!

Life After FITs

On Monday 8th April, CES, Energise Sussex Coast, BHESCo and many others attended the Life after FITs event organised by Community Energy England (CEE) with 
event partners Coop Energy and Leapfrog, Ollie Pendered was among the speakers and introduced Community Energy South's work in partnerships, with Community Water and Riding Sunbeams. Kayla Ente presented alongside Ollie, Barbara Hammond, Mike Smythe and Claire Henratty  and summarised "Community Energy works best when we work together".

The presentations from that day can all be found here

Claire Hanratty also launched the Social Impact Tool. You can find more details here.   

South East Climate Alliance

Invitation to join the South East Climate Alliance

The South East Climate Alliance (SECA) is a newly formed coalition of environmental, community and faith groups from across the region set up to share ideas and coordinate action on climate change. It’s all about joining forces so we can maximise our combined impact.

SECA’s big initial focus is a campaign to get District and County Councils across Surrey and Sussex to ‘Declare a Climate Emergency’. There’ve been some successes already.  Brighton & Hove, Hastings, and Reigate & Banstead have already declared. In April, West Sussex County Council agreed a motion to become carbon neutral by 2030. Phase 2 of the campaign is to use the upcoming local elections on May 2nd as a leverage point to get candidates to pledge to back the idea of declaring a Climate Emergency if they get elected.  

Several CES members helped found SECA (Steyning 10:10, Transition Worthing, Chichester & HKD). Now there are nearly 40 local groups involved. The recent school Strike4Climate and Extinction Rebellion actions are adding wind to the sails so the move to get serious about climate change by declaring a Climate Emergency is gathering momentum.  

Community energy is obviously a big part of this, so SECA would love to sign up more CES members. To find out more, visit their website: or email: 

SECA is getting candidates to sign a Pledge Card to show their backing for a Climate Emergency

Riding Sunbeams are recruiting 


You will be working with a group of passionate and experienced people looking to change the world and make a serious impact on climate change targets. We are ambitious with our world leading, first of a kind project to use solar technology to electrify the railways to power the trains and maximise our social impact as we build our company.  

Please read the below role description and email with:

A copy of your CV.
A couple of paragraphs about why you are excited to apply and what you will bring to the role.
Tell us your favourite project management tool and why.

Please put ‘project support officer application’ in the subject line of the email.

We intend to fill this role mid-May 2019 so do get in touch asap if you are interested.

Read the role description HERE


Powering the South

Ollie Pendered is one of three key speakers from the world of energy who will deliver their take on what the shape of energy provision in the South might look like going forward.  This free event is organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers
You can find out more, and book your place HERE

Climate Active Neighbourhood conference- Arnhem

In April, as well as visiting some of the neighbourhood community projects in the Arnhem area, Energise Sussex Coast, accompanied by Plymouth Energy Community, OVESCO and Community Energy South, attended the Climate Active Neighbourhoods (CAN) working conference. The CAN project focuses on raising the standard of living for the most vulnerable and those least able to pay for their fuel. We often refer to this demographic as the people who are in 'fuel poverty', but the social scientists at the CAN conference were keen to point out that this should really be framed in a different way - as energy injustice or energy democracy.

Indeed, ESC Living Labs project partner Professor Audley Genus of Kingston University took the concept further by questioning whether energy democracy could be possible without the framework of a truly democratic society. Genus states that 'new problem framings can enhance effective local energy consumption initiatives: rupturing energy use routines', and adds that 'top-down' only solutions, imposed on a population from above, now seem impractical, if not impossible.

Throughout one year of the CAN project - in France, the UK, Germany and The Netherlands - 1200 houses had been reached, 1500 Tonnes of Greenhouse Gas emissions had been saved, and 14 million euros of funding had gone into the project areas.

All of the project partners agreed that a Bottom Up Development (BUD) approach had not only been a successful strategy, but had added great social value to the communities via shared experiences and responsibilities. The social cohesion that comes with this approach must not be underestimated. On more than one occasion people benefiting referred to now being able to see 'the light at the end of the tunnel'.

Cathelijne Bouwkamp, Alderman of Arnhem, stated that cooperation between local authorities and neighbourhood initiatives worked well, and that citizens trust could be earned by chatting to them and learning what their issues were before trying to impose solutions.

Simone Raskob of Climate Alliance stressed the importance of learning from mistakes, working with local authorities and merging bottom up with top down approaches. In her city of Essen there are now 200 projects connected to CAN. She also emphasized that we owe it to the next generation to act now and we need to support them in their school climate action strikes.

Dirk Vansintjian, the Belgian president of REScoop stated his desire that locals take as much ownership as possible NOW or else a more democratic energy transition cannot be achieved. In his experience, those investing in community energy regularly halved their own consumption through an increase in knowledge. He added that energy democracy needs to be from 100% renewable sources and, as they do in their energy coop, half owned by the local community, as outside vested interests would always drain value from the local economy. He stressed that he sees the sun, wind air and water as part of 'common goods' not for some outside company to come in and take that asset away - 'We need a plan, and not a free market approach' he offered.
- Anton Hack



On Saturday 27th April OVESCo held another successful STEM event, (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at Lewes Town Hall. Among the interesting exhibits, OVESCO brought along their electricity generating bicycles plus a great assortment of hands-on equipment for generating clean electricity in all sorts of ways with information about how it all works. There is another event being held on 18th May at Memorial Gardens Crawley from 11-4pm 


CES Warming Communities - CIO

The new CIO is up and running, and we would like to appoint a new Trustee or Chair, 
CES Warming communities' mission is to relieve poverty and protect health by promoting the efficient use of energy (including energy for power, heating and transport purposes) among people in the South and South East of England who are in fuel poverty, including the elderly, or people whose housing conditions are unsatisfactory or who would be considered disadvantaged, either economically or socially, by making grants to community organisations that achieve these stated aims. We also seek to advance environmental protection and improvement in the South and South East of England , by making grants to community organisations that promote the efficient use of energy (including energy for power, heating and transport purposes) and support the installation of renewable and low carbon energy.
If becoming a Trustee or Chair of this organisation, to help us raise funds and succeed in this mission, is something you might be interested in, or you know someone that might be, then get in touch at

Membership Update

We have no new members this month but we have been helping a new Community Energy Group in the heart of Kent to get up and running, so watch this space as we will bring you more details soon!!

 If your group or organisation wants to find out more about membership, contact us at

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Community Energy South · The Hub, 2 Station Street · Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2DA · United Kingdom

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