#Show – A Love Song

This is a love song like you’ve never heard before. Watch and share. Together we can protect the life we love from climate change.

View at: fortheloveof.org.uk

A unique collaboration with Ridley Scott Associates, this powerful short film features a specially written poem by award winning writer Anthony Anaxagorou and is brought to life by Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson, David Gyasi and Jason Isaacs. With a specially produced soundtrack by Elbow, including choral arrangement by Phil Mitchell and vocals from the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir.

The Climate Coalition’s #ShowTheLove project is an annual celebration of all that we love but could lose to climate change, and the progress being made towards a clean and secure future.

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Wivey cars go electric

At our November 2016 meeting, four local people shared their experience of using electric cars. It was fascinating and encouraging to hear how the technology has developed and continues to improve. All said electric cars were great fun, very economical and suited to local use while still allowing much longer trips.

The cars used were a Volvo V60 diesel hybrid, BMW i3 with a petrol-powered range extending generator and two all-electric Nissan Leafs. All were fun to drive, with better acceleration than conventional engines, no gears, just two foot pedals (brake and accelerator) and good dashboard displays.

Electric cars are clever. They have regenerative braking with the engines working in reverse while braking (or idling) to recharge the battery, which saves on brake pads and can lead to a different driving style to make good use of this feature.

They are so quiet that the Nissan Leafs emits a high-pitch whistle up to 19 mph to warn pedestrians.

Electric motors are also very efficient. They are far lighter and better than fossil fuel powered engines, which produce a lot of waste heat and are only about 30% efficient.

The cars can be charged at home and one of the Leaf owners initially charged theirs from a normal plug overnight, which fully charged the battery in 8 hours. The cars can be rapid charged from special power points in about 30 minutes.

Somerset is not yet well served by public electric charging points but there are some, including at Nissan dealerships, and Ecotricity provides them at motorway service stations. Their locations can be viewed on websites, mobile apps and some sat navs.

car-charging

A 2014 Nissan leaf has a range of about 90 miles when fully charged, which has increased to 120-150 miles on new models. Some new electric cars have ranges of up to 250 miles and the best currently offers up to 380 miles.

The top of the range BMW had a 70 mile electric range and was able to get from Wivey to Bruton and back on electric power only during the summer, but in winter with lights and heating could only get to the other side of Taunton and then needed the range extending generator to make the same trip.

The hybrid Volvo V60 was a more complex car with a 30-mile electric range, allowing regular all-electric trips from Huish Champflower to Bridgwater where it could be charged at the owner’s workplace. On longer trips in hybrid mode it achieves an average of 80-90 mpg and switches automatically and almost imperceptively between diesel and electric power to optimise fuel economy.

Long journeys had been undertaken in the all-electric cars, such as to London, which required two charging stops each way.

The all-electric cars were found to be well-suited to local journeys around Wivey and within Somerset, as well as for trips to Exeter and Woolacombe. They could be used for longer journeys with planning to access on-route charging points. It was suggested that electric cars make a good second family car or that a hire car and the train could be used for occasional longer trips.

One Leaf owner had run out of power on a trip to the other side of Bristol where a planned late charging stop failed due to the facility being out of service. Nissan offer a recovery service for such situations and transported them to the nearest available charging point.

Boot space was reduced in the hybrid car but not in the all-electric Nissan Leaf which was reported to have a very spacious boot and was comfortably used for a family of five.

The Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are two of the lowest cost electric cars available. A Nissan Leaf currently costs about £200 per month on a 3-year lease and one of the owners used only £130 of electricity to cover 4,000 miles (so costing just 3.25p per mile for fuel). It can be even cheaper by powering up on an off-peak tariff or from your own solar panels.

All-electric cars are exempt from vehicle tax and hybrids currently pay a lower rate. Maintenance needs and costs for electric cars are also low.

The Volvo hybrid had a high lease cost which has been more than offset by reduced car tax and fuel costs. It is very comfortable to drive and the battery has a 10-year guarantee.

Second-hand electric cars can offer excellent value, with a good Leaf or Zoe available for around £6,000.

All the owners greatly enjoyed driving their electric cars and would not swap back.

For further information see:

Go ultra low – joint government and industry website, which covers 100% electric cars, plug-in hybrids, extended-range electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Go ultra low: grants and savings – Government grants for electric cars and charging points in your driveway or garage or a chargepost on your street.

Zap Map (and apps) showing charging point locations, plus guides to cars and charging.

Next Green Car – buyers guide for green cars and helpful information on car tax, emissions and costs.

Fully Charged – a weekly + video series by Robert Llewellyn (star of Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge and Carpool). It’s mainly about electric cars, including reviews, but also covers electric bikes, boats and planes and how we generate and can own the electricity to power these machines. It’s recommended viewing: fun and informative.

Test drive of a petrol car – a Tesla review to see how petrol compares to electric!

Visit to local wind turbine

Wivey Action on Climate members visited a local wind turbine near Clatworthy on a misty morning on 30th October 2016.

The turbine was installed five years ago, but has had some operating and maintenance problems relating to wind flow from the steep valley below. It was generating during our visit and it was good to see the blades turning.

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Most wind power comes from much larger turbines, but small installations, like roof-top solar, can still make a good contribution to local energy use.

In 2015, official statistics show renewable energy contributed 22-26% of the UK’s electricity (depending on calculation method) with onshore wind being the biggest contributor, followed by biomass (plant energy crops) and then offshore wind and solar.

Feed-in tariffs are still available for wind turbines and there are many turbine suppliers and installers, including:

In the Wiveliscombe area, there are at least four small wind turbines, but many siting constraints due to the landscape, grid capacity and potential interference with regional radar, including at Cobbacombe and Yeovilton.

Wivey call for clean energy

Wivey Action on Climate showed our support for The Climate Coalition’s national week of action by gathering on 15th October 2016 in front of the 123 community-owned solar panels on the Paddocks Nursery and Children’s Centre.

The week of action has been supported throughout the country and calls for 100% clean energy within a generation.

Our event also celebrated the amount of renewable energy generated in Wiveliscombe, which now has 13,479 solar panels, mostly installed over the last five years. They are on 70 local roofs, including both schools, and at a small solar farm hidden away on the edge of town. Over the year, Wivey’s solar power generates the equivalent of nearly 60% of the domestic electricity used in the town.

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We have also contacted Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow, to ask her to support clean energy in parliament to help secure a sustainable future for our children and our planet.

Thanks very much to all members and supporters who were able to join us on the 15th and especially to Rupert Mardon for the photo with our banners.

The Climate Coalition have published an excellent and succinct guide to explain why 100% clean energy is desirable, possible and still within reach in the UK – click here to view or download.

The Sky’s Limit – stop digging

The Sky’s Limit is a new study by Oil Change International which reveals the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from developed reserves – where the wells are already drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed.

Key findings are:

  • The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.
  • The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.
  • With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

Key recommendations:

  • No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.
  • Some fields and mines – primarily in rich countries – should be closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries.
  • This does not mean stopping the use of all fossil fuels overnight. Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

Report on talk by climate expert in Wiveliscombe

We were very pleased to welcome Professor Tim Lenton to present an illustrated talk on protecting our future from climate change on 18th July 2016 at Kingsmead School. There was a good turnout with an audience of just under 100.

Tim Lenton is Professor of Earth System Science and Climate Change at the University of Exeter. His talk covered the 2015 United Nations Summit, tipping points and the urgent need for more action to reduce climate change.

Click on the following links to download Tim’s excellent presentation:

CONCLUSIONS

Tim has a great depth of knowledge on climate change, which he frankly shared, giving us much to think about.

Conclusions of his presentation were:

  • There is a cap of future (cumulative) emissions to meet any climate target.
  • Current emissions leads to 2°C increase in the global average temperature within the next 20-30 years (likely).
  • Current declared contributions from the world’s countries are not sufficient to keep  within the 2°C target …
    … unless massive carbon dioxide removal is implement later (overshoot).
  • If business-as-usual continues then climate tipping points are expected to become high impact high probability events.
  • Early warning methods exist for tipping points and have been successfully tested against past climate data and models, but will require advances in past climate reconstruction as well as contemporary climate monitoring.
  • A climate tipping point early warning system could reduce the risk they pose by helping us adapt in advance if not avoid them.
  • The threat of multiple, interacting, uncertain climate tipping points should be triggering strong mitigation activity now to reduce their likelihood.
  • The optimal policy response from a standard cost-benefit model with a realistic specification of risk aversion is a carbon price today of >$500 per tonne of carbon.

Pricing the carbon content of fossil fuels would encourage changes in economic behaviour. It would create a financial incentive to reduce our use of fossil fuels and use alternatives instead, such as renewable energy. Tim also said some future carbon capture and storage would be needed (suggesting the use of bioenergy from crops and wastes) and that it would help to source and use food more efficiently, including by reducing meat consumption.

JOINT MEETING

This meeting was jointly promoted by Transition Athelney, Transition Minehead & Alcombe, Quantock Eco, Somerset Energy and Environment Network, Sustainable Villages Initiative, Taunton Transition Town, Forum 21, Transition Town Wellington and Wivey Action on Climate.

Climate tipping points

LED light bulb giveaway

Wivey Action on Climate gave away free LED light bulbs at stalls in Wiveliscombe Community Centre on 6th February and in The Square on 21st May 2016.

The idea was to let people know about the big improvements to LED bulbs, which are instant on, long lasting and use 90% less electricity. They are the best bulbs now available and can replace most old-style bulbs (in a few instances, where separate transformers are used on lighting circuits, these may need replacing too).

To save money and benefit our environment, it is worth immediately replacing old incandescent and halogen bulbs. Compact fluorescent low-energy bulbs have similar energy use to LEDS, so replace these when they stop working, and take all old fluorescents to Recycling Centres for safe recycling (as they contain Mercury).

In return for the free bulbs, we asked for a few brief details about people’s homes, so we could pass on further energy and money saving advice.

Despite the climate-related message of rain on both days (torrential on 6th Feb), we had a steady stream of visitors and gave away 80 bulbs: 20x 11.6W, 30x 8W and 30x 5.6W. Some were dimmable and some non-dimmable, all were warm white and had bayonet fittings, and the bulbs ranged in brightness from being equivalent to 40-75W halogen bulbs.

Wivey Action on Climate LEDs

We are grateful for a grant to cover the cost of the LED bulb giveaway to Brendon Energy’s community fund, which distributes profits from solar panels on the Children’s Centre and Community Centre in Wiveliscombe.

Kosnic GLS 8 Watt bulbs were supplied by Wivey Hardware. 5.6 and 13 Watt bulbs were from online supplier LED Hut.

Visit to new hydro power station near Dulverton

Members of Wivey Action on Climate had an enjoyable and interesting visit to a new hydro power scheme on the River Barle near Dulverton on 7th May 2016.

The site has had a weir, associated with turbines for power generation, for at least a century, which at one time supplied electricity for lighting to all of Dulverton. This ended with the arrival of the national grid in 1939, but the power station was maintained for emergency purposes throughout the Second World War.

The plant was dismantled in the 1950s, with fish traps then installed and used until the 1980s.

Planning for the new hydro power station started in 2010. After licences and permissions were obtained, work started on installation in early 2015 and generation started in December 2015. Site works are now nearing completion.

A lot of care has been taken to minimise any impact on the river and fish, with improvements made to the weir and features to allow both eels and salmon to return back upstream. On-going monitoring will continue to check water flow and fish health, with corrective action taken if necessary.

The weir offers a net head or water drop of 3m for power generation, by means of a 3 bladed Archimedean screw turbine, rated at 74kWp.

Average water flow at the weir is 5.3 cubic meters per second and the Environment Agency has granted a licence permitting maximum instantaneous abstraction of 4 cubic meters per second, with a requirement to allow a continuous minimum flow over the weir alongside the power scheme.

The expected annual power generation is 340,000kWh, which is equivalent to the electricity used by about 85 homes.

Guide for the tour was Jane Ruell, who has been centrally involved with the planning and management of the project.

We were delighted to see a Dipper had made a secure nest within the turbine building and used the weir as an ideal feeding ground.

Click on photos to view as a full size slide show.

Green living talks

Wivey Action on Climate held a series of talks in early 2016 at Wiveliscombe Community Centre on the theme of green living:

  • 8 February – Fuel poverty and home energy saving for all
  • 7 March – Community and business action for sustainability
  • 4 April – Recycling in Somerset

Our speakers were Louise Evans, Western Somerset Caseworker for the Warmer Improved Somerset Homes (WISH) programme, Sarah Pugh, founding director of Shift Bristol, and Dave Mansell, Development Manager at Somerset Waste Partnership.

Louise gave an excellent presentation, sharing energy saving tips and describing her work to help local people in fuel poverty – 12.4% of Wivey households. She covered the limited funding support now available and also advised on tackling the common problem of condensation – simply opening a window after a shower or while cooking helps.

Sarah gave an inspiring presentation on community action for sustainability, sharing her years of first hand experience of permaculture projects by ordinary people in towns and cities in the UK and USA. These included urban food growing, skill sharing and low impact living and often included socialising and empowering people too.

Dave presented on recycling services in Somerset, showing how these have developed and how materials are used again. He reported results of the Recycle More trials in Wiveliscombe, which increased recycling and led to a big reduction in rubbish for disposal. He also gave many examples of how we can prevent waste and reuse more.

Raising awareness and taking action on climate change