‘Batman’ has not returned, but ‘Communities’ can manage well without him?!

A quiet room in the Guildhall in Bath, a Grade I listed building, was filled with enthusiastic community energy representatives and practitioners on 22nd February, 2011, writes Jin Park. The air outside felt soft and warm, as if Spring had finally arrived in time to celebrate the launch of two DVD films -The PlanLoCaL – produced by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. These are no ordinary films because the intended audience, including this premier in Bath, is extraordinary grassroots communities, professionals from local planning authorities including National Parks and the AONBs, and numerous intermediary organisations. The DVDs are a resource pack to support communities to set up their own renewable energy projects. Rather than inviting planners, legal advisers or renewable energy experts to your meeting room, this resource pack can pass knowledge about various issues and indeed about how to get people to your meeting room in the first place. You can also use the DVDs to hear about other communities’ experience and learn lessons. Shame, they can’t take questions! The idea of community energy is innovative not because it is new, but because it involves a lot of learning -knowledge, skills, lessons and synergies- between communities and between communities and other sectors. Even professionals may need to reflect upon their expertise in the light of the processes for supporting low carbon communities articulated by Plan LoCaL So learning and innovating for everyone! A few delegates I talked to over tea and biscuits said that they would definitely use the resource pack. Let’s hope for a box office hit?! The resource pack including the films can be viewed ‘for free’ at http://www.planlocal.org.uk

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