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Green Job Fair at Sussex Coast College

Green Job Fair at Sussex Coast College

The Future is Green for young people

Green energy and how it can power our future was the talking point at a recent day-long symposium at Sussex Coast College. Twelve high-profile future energy ‘champions’ addressed a mixed audience of students and other guests as part of Green GB Week. The high-profile symposium, organised by Energise Sussex Coast and Community Energy South was also attended by Amber Rudd MP, Peter Chowney, leader of the council and Nigel Sinden, the Mayor of Hastings. Rod Webb writes. 

In the morning session, the future energy champions ‘shared their passion’ with the mainly student audience and helped them explore ‘Big Green Great Britain’ ideas. Sitting in seven  groups around tables, with two champions per table, they developed ideas under the themes of Education, Innovation and Vulnerability.

Education looked at the role of students in the future development of green energy.

Innovation looked at how the energy market could be transformed, making housing and transport more sustainable.

Vulnerability looked at how the de-carbonisation of the energy market could benefit those currently living in fuel poverty

At midday, Amber Rudd took questions from the floor and threw her weight behind the debate by endorsing the role of activism in the process: “We do need activism,” she said, “as it is the only way of getting change.”

Each table then shared the ideas they had come up with ranging from the low tech, such as rainwater harvesting to the high tech such as electrified roads for charging cars on the move.

The afternoon session was an open-table discussion building on the ideas that had been digested from the morning along with lunch.

Although the whole tenor of the debate had been about localism, not everyone felt this was the way forward, as there are so many obstacles to overcome. However, one very positive example of local initiative came from Anthony Walters from South Staffordshire Community Energy, who talked about the importance of joined-up thinking when looking at savings.

Anthony described how he had been involved with reducing hospital admissions and helping elderly people get out of fuel poverty in partnership with the local hospital in Stoke. By installing community solar on the hospital roof and using the profits to  make sure that houses are properly heated, elderly people could be released from hospital much earlier, making vast savings that generated value across the community.

The size of the saving can be seen by the cost of keeping someone overnight in hospital: £2,274, compared to the cost of giving effective energy advice that resulted in an energy efficient home: £124.

But the popular vote went to developing education in primary schools, something that Liam O’Sullivan of UK Power Networks offered to support in Hastings, where £8 million is being invested by the company in upgrading the local grid this Autumn.

This article was first published in Hastings Independent Press.

Mayor Nigel Sinden and MP Amber Rudd

Mayor Nigel Sinden and MP Amber Rudd

Posted 14:06 Monday, Nov 5, 2018 In: Energy Wise


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