by John Newson
The placement was from Balsall Heath Is Our Planet, where I normally work as development officer to Community Energy Birmingham – a renewable energy co-op, also in Birmingham.
The funding of my time was from the EU Climate KIC (knowledge innovation community). Community Energy Birmingham did not receive any money directly. I worked between 1st May and 26th July and did the equivalent of 20 consultancy days (keeping a timesheet).
Pioneers into Practice ran two workshops that I attended with other low carbon pioneers from the West Midlands, sharing the challenges and insights from our placements at a range of carbon-cutting organisations.
My main focus was on development work for a pair of proposed wind turbines at The Ackers – discussions and research to prepare for the planning application. I also worked on the proposed wind turbines at Frankley and the solar roof at Moseley CDT, with some attention to bio-energy possibilities at community scale. I also contributed to discussion of the Business Plan, re these projects. This was a considerable extra input for a small organisation with no paid staff.
CoRE50 was a relevant, interesting and mostly enjoyable placement. It has extended my understanding of the roles of various actors in the public, private and community sectors which are required to achieve deployment of renewable energy in an urban area, the barriers and the help available to overcome them. I will continue to support CORE50 as best as I can and look for opportunities in Birmingham to advance community energy projects..
The second part of the programme is a placement in Wroclaw, Poland. This will run 23rd September to 25th October. The project there will be around using green space and trees to moderate effects of climate change in cities. This is relevant to the work of Balsall Heath Is Our Planet and to Birmingham more widely.