Bath needs to be more ambitious

It’s good to know a lot of my loyal followers also read my monthly column in The Bath Magazine which – for September – is all about ‘renewables’ and what Bath could contribute on this front.

One of those who did is local architect Phillip Challinor who writes:

“Let’s hope that our new king is a major boost for achieving zero carbon targets.   

I applaud your article in this month’s Bath Magazine. Having been involved in green energy projects for over 20 years in Bath, and been at workshops with English Heritage and B&NES experts, I just wanted to make a few suggestions.

An immediate priority that we can all address is to consider more creatively the demand side of the energy equation.  We all know about insulation, both to our buildings (with glass fibre roof quilts) and to our bodies (with woollen jumpers) but how many of us use control systems on our appliances (especially the boilers), to make sure they only eat up energy when we are at home.   

There are also some very clever applications for the much-heralded graphene material that can be used as a radiant heating surface, potentially powered by 12v rechargeable batteries.

A smart use of second-hand batteries that would otherwise become toxic waste.  With the forthcoming demise of the gas boiler, we need to consider options to the expensive air source heat pumps that are touted as our salvation.

Pulteney Bridge and Weir

In terms of projects for the city, you may recall that in 2014 we proposed a turbine at Pulteney weir that would have supplied power direct to the rugby club floodlights as well as light the towpath, there would have even been enough juice for the Christmas lights.  We even had investors willing to stump up the equity.

In Freshford, we diverted cash from individual homeowners randomly attaching solar panels on the roof of their listed pantiled roofs into a community-owned scheme that provides the village shop with around 20% of its electrical needs.  How many other groups, large and small could combine resources and convert an underused strip of land into a virtual power plant?

There is no reason why Bath with its highly motivated communities, can not go further than zero carbon-whats wrong with aiming for energy positive- at least we won’t need expensive subsidies to make the finances work for the big energy companies. In fact, until some of the nuclear options are switched on, we could even see opportunities to turn the table on the energy suppliers and charge them for our surpluses, especially at peak times. 

Power to the People as Woolfie used to say!!!!

Love to see where all this could go-but I hope you agree we would all benefit from Bath being more ambitious, not just in rhetoric, but in delivery as well.  

Please note that I have copied both the chair of Freshford PC and the leader of B&NES council, as I have bored them both on this subject in the past.”

Thanks for that Phillip.