It was April 2014 that Transition Kentish Town, Transition Dartmouth Park and Transition Tufnell Park grouped together to organise a public meeting to discuss whether we could generate our own energy locally. The Transition groups have been successful in creating a local organic food supply through the TKT Vegbox scheme, starting community gardening groups, running food workshops, upcycling and mending projects and much much more- it seemed logical to us that we should use this momentum to focus on one of the biggest issues relating to climate change- our energy supply.
Out of that first meeting Power Up North London (PUNL) was born. The group has met every month since then and is going strong one year on!
It was decided within the first few meetings that we would focus on community owned solar, firstly because it suited our urban setting and secondly because there are some fantastic established models to learn from, such as Brixton Energy and Hackney Energy, and closer to home En10ergy in Muswell Hill. In the last year we have spoken to roof owners, local businesses, funders, consultants, installers, Camden Council, and others, to come to an understanding of how we could get our own community energy project off the ground.
So why aren’t the rooftops of North London buzzing with locally owned electricity just yet?
We could have hired a consultant to take on every aspect of the project for us- scoping out roofs, liaising with roof owners, applying for funding and planning permission- but as a group we would feel that this goes against the DIY ethic of Transition, so we’ve done it the long way round. We’ve been “teaching ourselves how to fish” so to speak! In my experience with community organising, to have a committed team of people turn up to every meeting a year on into a project is an achievement in itself, and I am pleased to say that one year on we have a strong core group of enthusiastic and clued up community energy champions who are capable of taking our project to the next level.
So what’s happening now?
- We have sent off our application to register as a Community Benefit Society. This means we will soon be a legally incorporated entity which is able to issue community shares, take out loans and apply for funding.
- We are in conversation with numerous roof owners who are interested in partnering with us, from churches to commercial buildings. Our business working group have put together a detailed business plan and have sought feedback from installers and professionals within the community energy field.
- We have created a community engagement team who will be consulting widely on any proposed project to make sure that we remain a truly community enterprise!
How can I join in?
- If you’d like to join the core group and help us get our first solar project off the ground, our next monthly meeting is at 7.30pm at the Grafton, Kentish Town on 1 July.
- Power Up North London will be at Alma Street fair on 5 July on the Transition Kentish Town stand, so please come along to find out more about what we’re up to.
- Follow us on Twitter @PowerUpNLdn and visit our website for updates
- Get in touch via the website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,
Chair, Power Up North London