30th anniversary conference (Bristol)

Shaping a (local) sustainable energy future: the next steps

A one-day conference to build on 30 years of the Centre for Sustainable Energy  |  Watershed Media Centre, 30 June 2009

CSE has spent the past 30 years working on local sustainable energy initiatives – and supporting others doing the same in their own localities. And whilst many of these initiatives and projects have been very successful – helping to improve people’s lives, save money and reduce energy use – their impact needs to be dramatically expanded in order to make the significant cuts in carbon emissions that climate change requires and to end the misery of fuel poverty that justice demands.

Everyone involved in sustainable energy needs to move faster, go further and dig deeper. The successful initiatives need to increase exponentially, and new approaches are required to amplify their impact. Meeting this challenge was what this stimulating day was all about.

Who came?

More than 200 people from across the energy spectrum took part in the conference. They included energy professionals, environmentalists, local, regional and national government officials, policy makers, people running sustainable energy schemes, representatives of large environmental organisations, community representatives and many more.

More photos, including speakers, may be found in the news story on the conference. Click here.

The speakers

The conference featured the following speakers. Click here to download a PDF of all the presentations. Click on the links for downloadable audio files (each lasts around 8 minutes and they range from 5-7MB).

Session 1 | The scale of the challenge: more of the same or more of something different?

Brenda Boardman (University of Oxford and CSE Trustee): 'How much and how quickly?'
Download audio file here

Fraser Winterbottom (Energy Saving Trust): 'What needs to change in the current approach?'
Download audio file here

Janine Michael (Centre for Sustainable Energy): 'The challenges of scaling up'
Download audio file here
Session 2 | Galvanising local energy action: changes in the mainstream
Sarah Jeffrey (Centre for Sustainable Energy): 'Stimulating change through partnerships'
Download audio file here
Brian Shewan (Scottish & Southern Energy): 'Why local delivery matters to an energy company'
Download audio file here

David Bishop (Bristol City Council): 'Developing sustainable energy within a local authority'
Download audio file here
Session 3 | Extending our influence: ‘next steps’ in action
Rachel Francis (Light foot): 'Embedding energy knowledge in communities'
No audio file available

Peter Lipman (Chair of Transition Network and Chair of CSE): 'Towards new cultural narratives'
Download audio file here
Ian Preston (Centre for Sustainable Energy): 'Turning interest into action'
Download audio file here

Thinking out loud’
For the ‘Thinking out loud’ exercise all delegates were asked to address three questions during lunch. Answers were written on gummed paper and pinned up on large whiteboards.
Qu 1 What do we need to do now to make sure tomorrow is different from today (and in the right way)?
Qu 2 How can we work together to learn each others’ lessons and build better initiatives and better evidence?
Qu 3 What's the single most important thing Government could do to unleash the power of community action?

You can find out what people thought by downloading a ‘capturings’ document here.
Later that afternoon, a selection of the answers was projected into the conference room and reviewed by a four-strong panel: Joanne Wade (Impetus Consulting and Chair of EAGA partnership Charitable Trust), Barbara Hammond (SEEDA Environment Director and Low Carbon West Oxford), Catherine Mitchell (Professor of Energy Policy at University of Exeter, Trustee of CSE), Peter Capener (Sustainable Energy Consultant, NESTA Communities Advisor and Trustee of CSE)

Following the conference most of the delegates joined CSE staff (past and present) along with lots of other guests and friends for a 30th anniversary party featuring drinks, canapes and a very large and splendid cake.

Switched on since 1979

Also to mark our 30th anniversary we produced a small book: 'Switched on since 1979'. Copies are available as a PDF by clicking here. A larger version of the wave-like graphic showing the development of CSE and illustrating the breadth of our work is here.

Hugh Barton, one of the founders of CSE, spoke at the informal party that followed the conference. He was inspired to write a personal reflection of the politics, the philosophy and the people surrounding CSE's foundation in 1979 which you can download here.

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