AN Energy Day event at Rye’s Tilling Green Centre outlined how the community could potentially save £1 million.
With energy prices soaring, Rye’s total energy bill, for homes and business, is estimated at over £10 million.
A 10% saving would therefore yield £1 million for the community, as well as helping the many people struggling to meet their heating bills without skimping on food or getting into debt. A 10% saving should be achievable, according to experts who spoke at Rye Energy Day.
The event was organised by Transition Rye, and sponsored by the Rother Environmental Group.
It brought in speakers from Lewes, and from Wadebridge in Cornwall, where community energy schemes have already been set up. The Wadebridge scheme has already delivered £1 million of benefits to a town with many similarities to Rye.
There were more than a dozen stalls from community groups and installers of energy-saving technology. Around 100 people turned up, and a show of hands gave overwhelming support to having a community energy scheme in Rye.
Transition Rye Chairman Sandy Roger said: “How can the 10% be achieved? Two thirds of the energy costs are in heating our homes and businesses, so that’s the place to start. Start with the basics - insulation, draught-proofing. The right light bulbs can save a lot of electricity. More sophisticated solutions include double glazing, solar panels, and wood burning stoves. Many homes and businesses could achieve well over the 10% saving - 30-50% is not unusual.
“A local energy co-operative could provide a range of neutral advice to homes and business, helping them get the best deals and make the right changes in their homes and business premises.
“We could also produce an income by generating some energy at suitable locations around Rye. Community schemes have access to various grants and incentives not available to individuals or businesses. And I think we’re more likely than big companies and government to reach people in a way they find acceptable and motivating, and the benefit would stay within the community, in savings and job creation.”
The intention is to set up a Co-operative called RX Energy, taking the name from the Rye fishing fleet lettering. A further meeting will be organised shortly for those interested in participating. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.