Marlow Energy Group (MEG) is a Community Benefit Society formed with the purpose of reducing Marlow's carbon footprint through the use of carbon saving energy technology. There are four main ways in which this can be achieved:
MEG will liaise with individuals and organisations such as schools and businesses in the local community, so that they appreciate the opportunities available for carbon reduction, and the technologies which are most suitable for their purposes. We can also point to sources for funding for those unable to afford installation costs.
The various technologies available are best divided into three main categories: save, supply and store.
Saving energy involves measures to reduce demands by insulating properties effectively. Supplying energy involves using photovoltaic panels to provide electricity for example, or heat pumps to provide warmth. Storing energy, using batteries, hot water cylinders or heat storage radiators, is a vital component of renewable technology as the supply is often intermittent or unavailable at times of peak demand.
MEG will provide guidance on the most cost-effective strategy for installing different technologies. Usually this will involve putting householders, schools or businesses in contact with organisations that have the necessary expertise and experience in a particular setting. For example, there are nationally based voluntary organisations that specialise and fund the installation of photovoltaic panels in schools. Better Housing, Better Health (BHBH) provides grants for insulation and other renewable technologies for those in fuel poverty. Similarly there are technology companies that undertake group installations of photovoltaic panels in selected towns, a strategy that results in significant cost savings for individual households. MEG will facilitate such projects by providing educational material and organising public meetings where individual schemes can be presented and discussed.
MEG can help with funding. MEG is a community benefit society, and this allows it to raise monies for carbon reduction projects through the issuing of shares. Investors would then be offered a return on their investment in the form of a dividend. Thus MEG could fund the installation of photovoltaic panels in a school, and the school would pay MEG for the power generated. However, MEG itself is a not-for-profit entity, so any surplus arising from a particular project has been recycled for the benefit of the community.
MEG could, in certain circumstances, undertake to not only fund but also manage the installation of renewable technologies; for example if a business decided to install a ground source heat pump, then MEG could supervise the installation and maintain the equipment for a set period of time: usually until the initial cost of installation is recovered.