Monday, 31 October 2011

A brief summary of the FiT changes published 31st October 2011 by DECC

Feed in tariff reduced by up to 50% for all new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 12 December 2011 (sliding scale applies, you can find it here).

From April 2012, energy efficiency measures will have to be taken before a property becomes eligible for FiT payments.

New multi-installation tariff of 80% will apply to aggregated solar PV schemes.

Those already receiving FiTs will not see a reduction in their payments.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Energise Barnet

Energise Barnet is a shining example of how just one person can influence others to take action. Aware that his borough had the highest emissions in London, and that no group was taking ownership of the problem, Nigel Farren decided to act. He has brought together an impressive and diverse coalition to make low carbon technologies more accessible and affordable for his local community. And he doesn't plan to stop there. Once Energise Barnet has proved itself, he plans to extend it across the UK to become the Groupon of the community energy sector. He works full time and unpaid on the project, but to scale it up he needed an injection of capital. Enter 1010 and The Funding Network. At 1010s Pitch Pledge Party, Energise Barnet was granted enough funds to fund a modest office space and some administrative support to enable it to move forward with its plans.

Amazing what you can do when you gather a few like-minded people together!

Monday, 10 October 2011


Watching Jonathan Ross's interview with Jamie Oliver, two facts stuck with me. Firstly, Jamie has sold over 100 million books Worldwide. Secondly, on the night he was "discovered" working in a restaurant by a TV crew, he shouldn't even have been there. He was covering for a friend who wanted to skip his shift to be with a new girlfriend. So in a sense Jamie's entire career - his books, his restaurants, the Fifteen Foundation, his campaigning work on school dinners and family nutrition, all derive from that single act of friendship. Perhaps Jamie would have achieved those things anyway. After all, he is great at what he does: genuine, engaging, passionate. He certainly took full advantage of the opportunities that came his way and you can imagine that he would do so in any situation. But it's hard to see how he could have risen so far and so fast without the extra amplification that early TV exposure provided.

For those who remember the movie, Jamie's presence at the restaurant that night was his "Sliding Doors" moment - a single accident of fate that determines somebody's entire future from that point on. We all have them, and they are difficult to recognise except in retrospect. But the more challenges we accept, the more favours we perform, the more opportunities we embrace, the more likely we are to be present when our own moment arrives.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Too Good to Waste

Top London chefs are backing a campaign to encourage diners to take home leftover food. The Too Good To Waste campaign, organised by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, aims to cut the 200,000 tons of food estimated to be wasted each year. Although American diners are more than happy to ask for a bag to take home uneaten food, it seems the British are just too reticent. In a recent survey, although 90% thought restaurants needed to do more to cut down on waste, a third had never thought to ask for a doggy bag and another quarter were too embarrassed.

Now, restaurants that support the campaign will stock “doggy boxes” and train staff to offer them to diners who don’t finish their meals. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is leading the campaign, says “Food waste in restaurants is a massive problem and doggy bags are an excellent way of cutting waste. There’s no need to be shy.”

Having tried, and failed, recently to get a suitable container to take home untouched cakes from a recent afternoon tea at a top hotel, I’m delighted by this move. Just like the serving of tapwater, I’d like to see this become standard practice at all restaurants.