Future Energy Day – 400 gain free advice in battle to save planet

Some 400 people came to the Future Energy events at the Riverside Centre in Newport on Saturday 2nd February.

Experts were on hand to give guidance on energy conservation, modern heating systems and renewable energy for the home. Local companies specialising in air and ground source heat pumps, wind energy and solar thermal systems were on hand to give information.

The Solent Energy Efficiency Advice Centre attended the event to offer detailed advice on how best to save energy in your home and cost-effective options for renewable energy. IW Council Trading Standards supported the event along with IW Friends of the Earth. IW Age Concern and Anchor Staying Put provided information on grants and other assistance available. The Footprint Trust gave away low-energy lamps and save-a-flush bags.

Following on in the evening an “Action on Climate Change” event was held. A presentation was made by renewable energy consultant and engineer Jackie Carpenter on the subject of Peak Oil.
Jackie is a chartered mechanical engineer and an expert on renewable energy, especially local community-based systems. Jackie set up her home in Stroud to run on 100% renewable energy and has recently moved to Cornwall to help create a new sustainable community.
She stated that the world was fast approaching Peak Oil production after which the remaining 50% of oil would soar in price as it becomes a scarce commodity. Much of our modern way of life depends on oil, as it is the basis of fertilisers for our food, plastics and medicines, as well as the main transport fuel. The problem will be not just the price but the fact that there is not enough to go round. People need to start thinking of how to change their life-styles so that they become more resilient and able to cope with any big changes in the future, including climate change. Individuals can start to grow their own food, or buy more of their food from that grown locally on the Island. Jackie showed pictures of home-based renewable energy systems that can bring a sense of fun and satisfaction as well as security for the future – for less than the cost of a car. The Isle of Wight will need to reduce its energy demands by around 50% if it has any chance of supplying its fuel needs from renewables.
Jackie emphasised that the world after Peak Oil will become a very different place, but that it is a challenge and an opportunity. We can all be happier as we help and receive help from our neighbours. The date of the Peak – the end of the cheap, easy-to-get oil – is reckoned to be within a year or two, so it is time for everyone to start work on their personal energy descent plans, to participate in movements like Transition Island and to take the energy efficiency message of the Footprint Trust seriously.

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“We will be working with the IW Council, Anchor Staying Put and other bodies to promote energy efficiency particularly aiming at those on low income during the next few years…”

The day’s events event were Funded by the EAGA partnership, Footprint Trust, IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund and IW Council.