Catch up: Seminar at Tyseley Energy Park

Over 30 academics, faith groups, renewable energy practitioners and local residents gathered at St Cyprian’s Church, Hay Mills, Birmingham to explore together the future of renewable power in Birmingham.

The seminar was a sequel to Footsteps annual interfaith walk around the perimeter of the Energy Park  in August.  The seminar focused on the technologies being developed at the Energy Park and  potential related additional used for St Cyprian’s Church.

The seminar included presentations from David Horsfall, Director of Tyseley Energy Park (TEP), and Emily Prestwood, from the Energy Institute at the University of Birmingham.  This was followed by Financing Green Innovation and local renewable energy pioneers speaking about  an innovative approach to cooling PV panels and ground storage and experience of opening retro-fitted home to the public.

“Birmingham City Council has committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2030. It is an ambitious target but it is important to remember that we are not starting from scratch. Technologies are already being deployed and are capable of making significant contributions to these targets if people are willing to make difficult decisions now.  Businesses and the community want to see change and want to see decarbonisation targets met. Tyseley Energy Park is capable of demonstrating how Birmingham can lead the way but this will require action rather than words and Birmingham City Council must lead by example.”

David Horsfall, director of Tyseley Energy Park

“It was really encouraging to see the interest and enthusiasm for the development of renewable power in Birmingham. To achieve net zero by 2030 will require a major shift in the way we all live, and Birmingham can lead the way in that.”

Chris Martin, Footsteps’ secretary

The seminar was held in St Cyprian’s Church, an historic building which sits next door to the energy park. After a short visit to the energy park group discussions were held in St Cyprian’s Community Hall on  the following four topics:

  1. additional uses for St Cyprian’s  church buildings,
  2. future of renewable power in Birmingham,
  3. establishing a network of individuals and groups who have retrofitted buildings,
  4. community energy projects.

Conclusions from discussion groups

Future of renewable power in Birmingham

Taxation and subsidy regimes are key to expanding renewables.   

The value the public place on decarbonisation must be translated into political action. 

Additional uses for St Cyprian’s  church buildings

An opportunity exists to develop an energy and community hub based on St Cyprian’s Church buildings.  

Retrofit networks

An opportunity exists to re-establish a network of Birmingham retrofitted home.  There is a small army of Birmingham innovators and pioneers working away despite the demise of interest and support from the City and national government.  

Community energy projects.

Existing community energy projects have been curtailed by changes in renewable subsidies.

Local renewable energy projects not only include generation but also distribution and charging point innovations.

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