Posts Tagged ‘Talybont energy’

May – Car Project Progress

June 2, 2010

The two zero carbon project cars (electric Bluebell and biodiesel Mr Chips) have now travelled a total of 8145 miles between them replacing miles travelled by our own petrol or diesel cars and saving a total of 2.8 tonnes of carbon since the project started in February. For some reason our usage level has dropped this month, we are not sure why. Our carbon savings for May were the lowest since the project started in February. Hopefully, usage will pick up again – Mr Chips certainly has a few long trips booked in for the summer months.

Bluebell has been branching out this month – bored with trolling in and out of Brecon, she’s been broadening her horizons –  Abergavenny, Crickhowell and, most recently, Hay-on-Wye for the Hay Festival (see earlier post on this topic). It’s interesting to take her further afield and face the challenges of finding how and where to recharge an electric car. Not easy.

Similarly, Mr Chips made his longest trip yet – to Scotland and back for a 10 day trip carrying 4 people. This involved finding a source of biodiesel in Glasgow and arranging to fill him up there.

In both cases, one feels very much the pioneer with eco-motoring. The gap between the hype and reality is quite marked.

Bluebell has also been busy starring at various events: the Presteigne bike rally, the Abergavenny Steam Fair and the World Environment Day in Brecon – she is preparing herself right now for an interview and photo call with the Brecon & Radnor Express tomorrow morning. Fortunately, she takes it all in her stride.

Bluebell visits the Hay Festival

June 2, 2010

Bluebell made her longest ever trip yet to the Hay Festival on Sunday morning (19 miles each way by the back roads) with 3 aboard. We had emailed in advance to ask if we could charge her and a helpful Andy Fryers (“Mr Green” of the Festival) explained that we were the first ever Hay visitors to make this request but he would sort us out.

Fortunately, we arrived about 40 minutes before our ticketed session because the security staff on the parking sites were friendly but bewildered by our need for a charging point. After about 30 minutes of scootering around the site, we eventually were provided with a place where Bluebell could park and a long extension lead. We stupidly had neglected to bring along one of our own. (Safety note for long distance Bluebell adventurers).  The above photo of is Bluebell happily recharging behind the portaloos with our helpful Hay Festival steward in attendance.

The experience brought home to us that, for all the talk of electric vehicles, there is still a real gap between hype and reality. We felt like real pioneers!

The good news? We parked for free and charged for free – Thank you Hay Festival!

We plan to return in Bluebell on Friday and see if repeating the exercise is any easier….

Actually, we think we *might* have made the round trip without recharging but it would have been a slow and alarmingly close run thing. Not recommended. In the 3 hours we were at the Festival, Bluebell recovered all her charge and we zoomed (in a Bluebell sense of zooming) home to Talybont.

Can you do the sums?

May 6, 2010

On election day, have a go at the Prime Ministers job with this very developed emissions calculator published in The Guardian. Your job is to cut the UK’s emissions by 80% – not easy is it….

Car project progress in April

May 5, 2010

It is now the end of our 3rd month of the car project (April) and the two cars (Bluebell and Mr Chips) have travelled a total of 6455 miles (38% of our target mileage) and saved 2.5 metric tonnes of fossil CO2 (58% of our carbon target for the year). That is roughly equivalent to switching off  all electricity in an average Powys household for a year. We are beginning to think we should have set ourselves a more ambitious target!

The big step forward in April was the long-awaited filling of our own private biodiesel tank with 500L of recycled vegetable oil. All project members can now fill Mr Chips whenever he needs it. It’s as good as having our own private filling station but without the chance to purchase newspapers and the odd pint of milk or mars bar. Maybe that will come!

Bluebell continues to pootle happily in and out of Brecon with the odd interlude as a taxi carrying visitors up to the Talybont turbine.  She currently has some spare capacity although one has to take into account the time she needs to re-charge at the end of a trip.

Mr Chips has broader horizons and continues to roam the length and breadth of the UK – Devon and Cornwall one week and Lancashire the next.  We’ve changed his fuel filter for a 2nd time and he should now have got all the ordinary diesel sludge out of his system. According to his dashboard guage, he achieved 73 MPG on a 400 mile round trip last week which is as efficient as the same model of car running on ordinary fuel.

For more details about the project, click here.

Tanzanian Environmental Journalists Visit Talybont Turbine

April 1, 2010

Deodatus and Finnigan visiting the Talybont Energy Turbine

Talybont Energy was contacted by The Thomson Foundation , which is involved in training environmental journalists internationally. Under a UNESCO Wales funded project, they hosted a small group of Tanzanian environmental journalists who visited Welsh projects. They  came to visit the Talybont Turbine and to learn more about Talybont Energy’s work earlier this week.

The journalists,  Deodatus and Finnigan, used the trip as a fact finding and training opportunity, and are planning to write stories of interest in their respective newspapers in Dar es Salaam.

The  visit was interesting, for us as well as them,  in learning about the current situation in Tanzania and the direct effects of drought and floods on their lives, all due to climate change. Countries like Tanzania are in line to pay the highest price for Global warming whilst our country is a major contributer . This makes for interesting dialogue which we only began to touch on in such a short visit with Deodatus and Finnigan. It would have been good to have explored this issue further.

Deo and Finnigan were keen to see examples of community funded and run projects. In Tanzania, they are currently struggling to escape from state controlled projects, which involve many middlemen and companies. It was embarrassing to have to admit that most UK projects (like ours for example) were not funded by the community but by the government grants although the community now run it and have an income stream to fund further efforts.

The UK projects were all effective, albeit on a small scale, whereas most Tanzanian projects appeared anecdotally to be relatively unsuccessful at producing the ‘end product’.

Based on these observations it made me wonder how Deo and Finnigan felt about the various projects they visited here. It strikes me that, with none of the difficulties that the Tanzanian’s face, we (the UK, but also very much myself included in this) should be doing so very much more. No-matter how well meaning our intentions, what we do is not nearly enough as what we can and should do. The Tanzanians, along with so many other countries and peoples  feel the direct effects of our historic and current way of life.

I wish Deo and Finnigan well and hope that their visit of the UK gave them something that they can use in the future. We would welcome further dialogue with visitors like them. It certainly challenges any sense of smugness we might have of our own limited achievements.

The Tanzanian Journalist Visit to Talybont Energy

Cash rewards for low carbon electricity and heating

March 25, 2010

Households can earn £900 a year by installing solar panels on their roofs as part of a new Government scheme to pay people to generate their own electricity. Under the deal, which will start from April this year, households will be paid for electricity fed into the grid from renewable technologies. The most attractive rate of return will be on solar panels, which for an average sized three bedroom home could earn households £25,000 over 25 years. Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said he expected that one in 10 homes will have installed renewable power on their homes in the next decade. He pointed out that the payments would be tax-free and a return of up to 9 per cent annually was better than any bank could provide. Householders and communities can apply for the feed-in tariff from their electricity supplier from April 2010.

£8 million green energy boost for Welsh communities
Over £8 million will be made available to help community organisations in Wales invest in new technology to generate clean, renewable energy, Environment Minister Jane Davidson has announced. The funding is expected to create up to 22 jobs.

The Welsh Assembly Government initiative is backed with over £7 million from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and will generate an investment of £15m. The Community Scale Renewable Energy Generation project will provide finance of £100k to £300k per project to support the development of community based renewable energy schemes such as wind, biomass and hydro power. The funding will enable around 22 new and existing social enterprises to install innovative technology to generate electricity which they can then use or sell to the National Grid, or even to their communities, providing an on-going source of income.

In addition, around 135 small grants of up to £3,000 will be available to help communities to undertake feasibility studies into potential renewable energy schemes followed by 35 grants of up to £20,000 to help them develop their projects.

Welsh third sector declaration on climate change
All types of organisations and groups in the third sector are encouraged to sign up to WCVA’s climate change declaration as a way of making a public declaration about their commitment to tackling climate change – both through their internal practices and the work they do with people and communities across Wales. The declaration can be found on WCVA’s climate change web page, alongside some useful ‘where to go for help guidance’ listing sources of help and support for taking action on climate change.

Guardian 10:10 campaign – WCVA signs up
WCVA has now signed up to this Guardian climate change campaign; this new initiative shows that we can all act now – and achieve something. The idea is simple: by signing up, individuals and organisations commit to doing their best to cut their emissions by 10% by the end of 2010, precisely the sort of deep, quick cut the scientists say is needed. For more information

Week 1 of the Talybont Green Car project

February 21, 2010

Well, the car project has got off to a bumper first week – Mr Chips visited Aberystwyth, Launceston, Newport, Cardiff and Tonmawr racking up 844 replacement car miles. Little Bluebell made her humble but valuable contribution of 61 miles, bumbling merrily in and out of Brecon! So, that’s a total of 905 replacement miles in Week 1 which equates to a CO2 saving of 226 kg. That’s roughly equivalent to turning off the electricity completely in an average household for 35 days….

Only another 4 tonnes to go to achieve our CO2 reduction target for the year….

Talybont Energy’s Freecycle Day

February 15, 2010


On Saturday 13th February, Talybont-on-Usk Energy held its first ever “Freecycle” Day. Members of our community were invited to bring along unwanted Christmas Gifts or things they no longer had a use for so others could maybe find a use for them. The idea was to share useful things and keep them out of landfill.

From the moment the doors opened, people were arriving with a remarkable selection of things to freecycle – from a hamster cage to an unused Blackberry, from a lawnmower to a pogo stick. Then there was the excitement of seeing if there was anything we could find useful and certainly there was! Henderson Hall was buzzing.

As well as freecycling, we were pleased to host the Glasu-sponsored free energy advice surgeries. Apparently, these were booked fully all morning.

And, of course, at 12 noon, there was the launch of our 2010 Green Car project.

If anyone missed the event and still has stuff to freecycle or things they’d like to find, we strongly recommend the Brecon branch of Freecycle online.

Bluebell’s Charging Point at Henderson Hall

February 5, 2010

Talybont Energy is very grateful to the Henderson Hall committee for allowing us to install an external, lockable charging point for Bluebell (our electric car) at the community hall in Talybont. We plan to install PV panels on the roof of the hall later this year which means that we could then say that Bluebell is solar charged. At the moment, we like to think of her as water-charged courtesy of the Talybont Turbine which, in theory, could charge a fleet of 55 such cars.

Talybont Energy’s Electric Car Arrives

January 27, 2010

Yesterday we collected “Bluebell” our new Mega City Electric car from Dragon Electric Vehicles in Cwmdu. Bluebell is one of the two cars in this year’s Talybont car share project. The other one is a biodiesel car for longer distance trips and carrying more people.

She’s a funky  blue and, with your foot hard down on the accelerator, she’ll happily pootle along at 38mph on the level – ideal for a run into Brecon and back along the B4558. She adopts a more conservative speed on hills and certainly likes to be fed (see photo) little and often, we are discovering.

We can view her as charged (indirectly) by our own Taylbont turbine….  she may be the first car powered by water! …

Watch out for a bright blue flash around the lanes of Powys…..