05 June 2024

Energy focus for Forest of Dean climathon

Supporting decarbonisation

Forest of Dean District Council recognises the importance of targeted, local action in its plan to become a net zero district by 2030, and saw the climathon methodology as a way to develop key solutions which could be implemented to support this, writes Aimee Morse, Research Assistant. We partnered with them to hold this climathon focused on the energy sector, with the aim to develop solutions which can support the decarbonisation of electricity and heat, at scale, across the district.

Bringing people together to discuss solutions

Participants from across the Forest of Dean, in addition to individuals with technical expertise regarding energy solutions, attended a 90-minute webinar and an in-person workshop as part of the Climathon. During the webinar, we heard from five speakers, who provided an overview of opportunities for energy solutions and more information about the context in the Forest of Dean. Participants were invited to contribute their ideas for solutions in a breakout session.

The in-person event began with an introductory talk outside the Council’s offices, in Coleford, before attendees gathered at The Main Place to develop solutions. This involved a process of refamiliarisation with the ideas emerging in the webinar, and time to discuss other potential solutions, before a voting process saw the resulting solutions whittled down to six.

Participants were then invited to form teams to work on these solutions throughout the afternoon, before presenting their ideas to a panel for feedback.

During the presentation session, participants shared more details on a potential retrofit programme for social housing in the district; the use of kinetic potential energy structures as energy storage mechanisms in the district’s old mines; the financial and temporal advantages of solar and wind co-generation; the development of how-to guides for obtaining a grid connection; a community hub and bus, offering trusted information and advice to local residents; and the potential development of community heat networks, using ground and geothermal sources.

Climate goals

The solutions highlight the need for both social and technical interventions to support the transition to a net zero district. Improved electricity infrastructure and additional renewables developments will be needed to meet the increasing demands of our electrifying world; however, this must be delivered alongside changes in behaviour regarding energy consumption and acceptance of infrastructure developments, if we are to meet our climate goals.

The CCRI team produced a short film of the climathon - watch to get a overview of the event and hear from those involved.