GUCE is now a sound business generating electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at the Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley. In 2014, GUCE was awarded a grant to study additional local renewable energy sources, and in 2015, our pilot Transition Streets programme enabled 30 households to reduce their carbon footprint.
Replacing fossil fuels
It is still hard for many people to accept the scientific facts about global warming and climate change, and their relationship to human activities, even though the facts have been beyond doubt for many years.
In December 2015, governments of nearly all countries accepted that alternative forms of energy are now available and that we must use them instead of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.
Early in 2016, Kings Langley Parish Council initiated their Vision Project, providing residents with opportunities to determine how our community should evolve and develop in future. GUCE is actively contributing to this project by showing how reducing our dependence on fossil fuels will build resilience to climate changes. To do this will involve residents, businesses, services,authorities and elected representatives working together to use energy more efficiently, as well as installing our own local renewable energy sources.
In recent years the United Kingdom has made substantial progress in developing renewable energy. However it is now evident that to achieve international goals, increasing reliance must be placed on “market forces” rather than government subsidies. Nevertheless, grants and awards will continue to be available from various sources and it is still possible that small government subsidies may become available in due course.
It’s therefore time to envisage what steps we can take as a community to install and manage local sources of renewable energy, and progressively reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. We can then seek sources of funding to develop local businesses which will take these actions forward. In this way, we will both enhance the local economy as well as building our resilience to change and ensure the sustainability of our community into the future.
How can we eliminate fossil fuels?
To power our community entirely with renewable energy will require a huge shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels like petrol, diesel, coal, oil and gas.
We know, however, that this is technically feasible, if ambitious, and many other communities are working towards the same goal. In addition, modern communications enable us to learn quickly by sharing experiences. Our task is to work together to make this transition realistic and financially achievable.
Developing and executing the programme for Sustainable Kings Langley involves many separate activities, including:
- Networking to keep abreast of latest methods and technologies, and share experiences
- Engaging the community so that everyone (including our local authorities) knows how to contribute
- Improving energy efficiency to reduce demands for heating and electricity in our buildings
- Generating electricity from local renewable sources including rooftops and solar parks
- Developing alternative heating sources that will do away with oil and gas
- Storing energy through the use of batteries and electric vehicles
- Providing better provisions for cycling and walking
- Producing fresh food locally for healthier eating and lower transport costs
- Developing the local economy, including timebanking, a local currency and banking options
- Administering local energy generation