Smart Energy Systems and Communities – next steps

Fife Communities Climate Action Network recently hosted a workshop with Community Energy Scotland, a national charity that supports people to make the most of local energy resources, on the topic of “Smart Energy Systems and Communities”.

There was a good turn-out, with 28 people coming along. Gillian Wilson, Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Development, introduced us to ‘Smart Energy’ and gave us a useful presentation on the opportunities and challenges that the coming changes to our energy systems might bring for community groups. We then had an interesting discussion about what that could mean in Fife, including what we should learn from previous and current energy initiatives.

You can see Gillian’s slides here – Fife Smart Energy session Sep 2018 . You can find out more about Community Energy Scotland’s on their website and your community group can also become a member – its free of charge.

So, what next?

Some groups at the event felt that they should just keep an eye on how this agenda develops. Others were inspired to want to learn more, and see what projects we could come up with locally.  Community Energy Scotland have some limited funding to work with community groups, building organisational capacity and supporting local action on smart energy.  This support could help your organisation and local people in your area to get ready for smart energy and for some of the opportunities and challenges Gillian outlined in her session. Any groups who would like more information on this follow up support, should get in touch with Gillian Wilson on  Gillian.wilson@communityenergyscotland.org.uk.

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My Climate Changes consultation event – Kirkcaldy, 24 September 2018

My Climate Changes

Monday 24 September 6pm – 8pm

New Volunteer House, 16 East Fergus Place, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1XT

The Scottish Parliament is holding a community event in Kirkcaldy to explore the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. This is a great opportunity for people in Fife to find out more, share their thoughts on how it might have an impact, and help shape the Bill. Members of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee will be present to explain the Bill as well as Stewart Stevenson MSP, and Mark Ruskell MSP. We’re supporting the Scottish Parliament by encouraging our members, networks and community to come along to the event. Everyone is welcome but you must book a place. A light buffet will be served at 5.30pm.

Find out more or book your place.

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Smart Energy Systems and Communities event in Methil

Thursday 13th September 2018, 6.30-8.30pm at Fife Renewables Innovation Centre.

communicating-climate-change

Greener Kirkcaldy and Fife Communities Climate Action Network are hosting a “Smart Energy Systems and Communities” workshop with Community Energy Scotland, a national charity that supports people to make the most of local energy resources. We want to raise awareness of the changes that are coming to our energy systems – from smart meters and demand-side response to energy storage and low-carbon vehicles – and to support local community organisations to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise.

As a first step, we are running this briefing and networking session for local groups to provide some information on the changes that are coming and to consult you on the kinds of support you would value. We’re inviting community groups and stakeholders in Levenmouth and across Fife.

The workshop will take place on Thursday 13th September 2018, 6.30-8.30pm at Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, Ajax Way, Lower Methil, KY8 3RS.

To book your place: sign up via our Eventbrite page.

For a map and directions to Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, see https://goo.gl/maps/rK6RvQjRQxS2 .

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Help shape Fife’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan

Get involved – come along to a workshop this August to help shape Fife’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan.

Climate and energy are the defining challenges of our times. Recognising this challenge, Fife Council signed the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy this year and reaffirmed their commitment to Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration.

Becoming a Covenant of Mayors signatory commits Fife Council to submit a ‘Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan’. The ambition for Fife is to work towards the proposed next target 56% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2040 and enhance mitigation and adaptation measures. The Plan will set out actions that positively impact upon the lives of everyone in Fife, regardless of their background. These actions are being decided on by Fife Council, external partners, businesses and the people of Fife.

There will be 2 workshops this August for local community groups to contribute to the Action plan:

Cupar: Thursday 16th August 2018, 6pm for networking & refreshments; 6:30 – 9pm workshop. Venue: St Johns Church Hall, 77 Bonnygate, Cupar, Fife, KY15 4LG. 

Kirkcaldy: Thursday 23rd August 2018, 6-8.30pm workshop with refreshments. Venue: small hall at St Bryce Kirk Centre, St. Brycedale Avenue, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1ET.

Please email Carolynm.bell@refsol.co.uk to book a place – remember to say whether you will be coming to the Cupar or the Kirkcaldy workshop .

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FCCAN seeks solution to barriers to Car Clubs in Fife

OK for Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. But not anywhere in Fife. Can we change the policy barrier ?

FCCAN is a regular member of Fife Environment Partnership and serves to represent our member organisations – and in conjunction with Fife Voluntary Action who are also present, we help to represent the Third Sector on this important forum for climate change.

A  current issue arose from our June Networking Meeting, and we brought it to the Sept 2017 FEP meeting.  It is a policy barrier in Fife to operating car clubs and bike sharing.  These relate to using Fife Council car parks and on-street parking for dedicated parking places.  So for example, an eCar Club needs a dedicated space for the car when not is use.  A BikeShare needs a bike box for people to be able to pick up a bike from.  However Fife Council have a policy for car parks that prevents commercial activity even if it is not-for-profit and even if it is helping Fife fulfil its wider sustainability agenda.  A further policy prevents dedicated reservation of spaces in on-street parking – so the image above can be found in cities across Britain – but not in Fife.

We think this is a barrier to implementing a more sustainable transport system in Fife.  At the FEP meeting, we had a really useful discussion about this and were offered advice by Councillors and others present.  We will be taking that forward now with member organisations to try and modernise the relevant policies.

We’ll keep you posted on developments.

Just to note our role in Fife Environment Partnership and what its about is more fully described in a previous post on this blog in March 2017.  FCCAN Steering Group member Crispin Hayes currently represents us on the Partnership.

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What’s happening in FCCAN in 2017-18

Feeding back to ourselves

We’re holding four networking events in Fife during 2017-18.   FCCAN steering group member Crispin Hayes recently gave a presentation about this to the Fife Environment Partnership meeting.  Here’s his presentation including some great pictures from our visit to PLANT at Tayport.

FCCAN Network Update vSep17 comp.pdf

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Mid Scotland & Fife Rail Forum launched


StARLink was delighted to participate in the first Mid Scotland & Fife Rail Forum at which we were joined by representatives from the Levenmouth Rail Campaign and Newburgh Train Station Campaign, along with campaigners for the Alloa-Dunfermline freight line upgrade.

The morning included an excellent presentation by David Prescott of Allan Rail Solutions; David is a rail industry expert with extensive knowledge of the field and learning from him as to where the various Fife Rail projects sit within the Scottish context of rail infrastructure development was of immense practical value – and generally presented an encouraging scenario for each campaign.

We discussed the transport appraisal (STAG) process – its strengths and weaknesses, the issues with which groups have been faced when trying to initiate it or progress beyond it to implementation and whether there exists an opportunity to amend or replace the STAG via the upcoming National Transport Strategy review.

The third topic of our focus group was that of engagement with other stakeholders, i.e., how the campaigning groups have to date worked with key stakeholders (including Transport Scotland, Fife Council and Network Rail), how this work could be improved and how each might better communicate and work with these agencies.

The Forum concluded by discussing “next steps” – the actions each group might take forward and how we envisage the agenda of a subsequent Fife rail forum.

Following on from the formal agenda we discussed how the various Fife campaigns dovetail as part of an overall Fife rail infrastructure improvement agenda, the benefits each can bring to the other and the possibility of a strategic implementation project incorporating all Fife rail proposals.

StARLink is indebted to Mark Ruskell MSP – Scottish Greens and his constituency team for organising and facilitating this excellent workshop.

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