Innovation lessons from community energy groups in Greater Manchester

The GM Community Energy Innovation Toolkit is for community energy organisations and others interested in developing prjects tobenefit local people and the environment in an ever-changing context. It includes project stories, lessons and useful information. Top 10 innovation lessons. Upcoming technologies and models for communty energy and links to support. Quantum supported the four projects through their innovation projects, and held a workshop with 14 community energy organisations to test the findings and develop the toolkit format. Download the document GM Community Energy Innovation Toolkit.

Community Energy Innovation Toolkit Support & Research

Greater Manchester’s Low Carbon Hub have launched a community energy innovation project. Funded by DBEIS and supported by Oldham Council, the project has awarded four community energy groups grant funding to develop innovative ideas for sustainable community energy business models to give the sector a boost in the wake of cuts to the Feed In Tariff and other subsidies. The four projects look at different opportunity areas e.g. selling electricity to multiple customers, setting up a CESCO, engaging lower income households, replicability of whole house retrofit, community biomass

The outcome will be a toolkit report which will summarise the innovations in a way which makes it easy for other groups across the country to use to develop their own new projects. Overseeing the project will be Quantum Strategy and Technology, experts in the sector who will ensure that links are made between the project and other innovations currently taking place across the country. We are keen to speak to any community energy groups who want to input into or discuss the project, or have similar examples they can share.

Please contact either Gill or Louise at Quantum - and

Carbon Literacy training pack to be used for 6000 social landlord staff

Cooler Projects asked Quantum to develop a training pack in Carbon Literacy for Social Landlords across Greater Manchester to train both staff and residents. The Carbon Literacy Project aims to provide everyone who lives, works or studies in Manchester a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy training. The training covers climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit and how it’s relevant to your audience. It supports individual action and collective action.

Quantum’s training pack has learning materials, video links, presentations, hand-outs and exercises along with a User Guide for the trainer and information on assessing the learners against the Carbon Literacy Standard. It also includes training administration resources including sign in and evaluation sheets.

Phil Korbel from Cooler Projects said “Quantum manage that rare trick of combining technical experise with top notch project management and an affable relationship with the client. Their passion to promote sustainable development was very helpful too.”

Data in action – testing the UN’s urban sustainable development goal in Greater Manchester

When the University of Salford’s SURF project needed rapid research and data collection for a global pilot project to test out proposed UN indicators on cities, they asked Quantum to help.

We delivered a rapid project to pilot the targets and indicators for the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals #11 “Make Cities and Human Settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” We ran a workshop with Greater Manchester local authorities, AGMA and United Utilities to prioritise which indicators to test and to prioritse which were most relevant to the city. Following on, we gathered and analysed a large volume of data and discussed if and how it might help make Greater Manchester more inclusive, safer, resilient and sustainable. International targets and indicators need to be locally relevant, yet internationally comparable. How can we compare slum indicators for Greater Manchester with those in Cape Town?

We presented our findings at the Urban Goal Campaing workshop in Sweden which compared our findings in Greater Manchester with other pilots in Kenya, Sweden, South Africa and India. Our findings have been published as part of an international report to inform the UN process of determining Sustainable Development Goals; an academic article has been co-authored for publication later in 2015 and a local report will be prepared.

Dr Beth Perry, SURF Director said “Yet again Quantum proved an excellent partner in our research work. I was extremely impressed – not only by their professionalism and high quality outputs, but also by their collegiality and the values and commitment that underpin their work.”

Please email if you’d like a copy of the report or if you’re developing indicators for your city or project.

APSE Energy Consultancy

Quantum are delighted to be part of APSE Energy Consultancy which provides a full range of expert consultancy services to member local authorities and public bodies on energy, Climate Change and green economy related matters. We provide strategic advice, technical feasibility and business case development and project management expertise to support local authority energy projects. We also provide facilitation and stakeholder engagement.

APSE Energy aims to form an effective collaboration of a large number of local authorities to enable and facilitate the municipalisation of energy services. We recently faciliated an event for members at Matlock, examining how to convert brownfield or former industrial sites for local authority renewable energy.

Financing large scale investment in renewable energy – briefing out now

Local Authorities are working with reduced budgets. There is very little grant funding available yet many Local Authorities are implementing renewable energy schemes.

Why are they doing this? And how do they achieve it?

Financing Large Scale Renewables – FINAL – July 2014

This new CLASP  briefing written by Warrington Borough Council and Quantum explains the benefits, finance options and practical steps to take for Local Authority investments in renewable energy projects.   The overarching lesson from officers interviewed for this briefing is ‘just get on with it’ – the business case is still a good one for the right technologies in the right place.   The guide contains examples of a range of real-life projects led by authorities and covers:

  1. Essential Background
  2. Making Your Project Happen
  3. Financing and Ownership Options
  4. FAQs
  5. Resources

We hope you find it useful. Let us know how you get on or if you need any support.

Lancaster Cohousing wins Observer Ethical Award for Community Energy

Lancaster Cohousing, supported by MORE Renewables, has won the Observer ethical award for community energy – very chuffed! Steve Wigley was involved from the early stages, particularly the micro-grid and biomass boiler, and Gill has been involved in the MORE-owned PV system. Quantum’s new office is based in the business unit at the Mill.  Gill and Steve are (voluntary) Directors of Morecambe Bay Community Renewables.


Local authority investments in renewables – making it happen

Many local authorities are investing in renewable energy to generate income, tackle climate change and challenge fuel poverty.

Quantum has teamed up with Warrington Borough Council to produce a practical “How To” Guide to finance options, that will include case studies and practical issues such as “How long will it take?” “Who needs to be involved?” “How much will it cost to set up?” “What’s the risk?” In March we held a learning event to:

  • Learn about large scale investment in renewable energy by local authorities: what are the benefits, what options are available
  • Explore how to get projects off the ground: who to convince, what are the risks, what information you need, who you need to work with, how much the project development work costs and how long it takes
  • Look at how local authorities are funding their projects: prudential borrowing, share offers, funding for feasibility studies
  • Hear from officers at Warrington Borough Council and Rochdale
  • Examine successful examples of business cases for investment
  • Case studies of PV on social housing, solar farms, large scale wind, district heating etc.
  • Look at moving on from generating for your own use: how to sell electricity, tackle fuel poverty, set up and Energy Services Company, establish further projects.

You can read about the event here:

and we’ll be publishing the final briefing soon.

Watch this space.

Sustainability business support and market research – happy clients

business support

Louise with Mark Morrison, Brand Strategy & Managing Director of nicepond creative with his award-winning saucepan packaging.

In 2013 – 14 we joined with University of Cumbria and Fiona Reed Associates to help a group of Cumbrian businesses to develop new opportunities.

Cumbria is one of three NW universities running an ERDF-funded Knowledge Action Network programme to support small businesses to grow. In Cumbria, the focus of the programme is on businesses already in or able to grow into the low carbon sector. We provided individual business coaching, group workshops and technical support specific to the needs of the companies.

The participants are a fascinating group of people, all with their own specialist knowledge and skills, but with often similar issues within their businesses. They range from engineers, architects, builders and equipment installers to ecologists and hydrologists. We have been providing market intelligence, insight into market demands on suppliers and useful contacts within the low carbon and renewable energy sector. We also provided advice on energy and materials use within the business and a realistic view on opportunities for renewable energy.

WOW! Thank you so much for this Louise.  Just to see it all on one doc – both intense and motivates me further yet refreshing in some way.

I’ve just printed and will work through it at home and make some notes / an action plan.

It was good to go through the report and see what you had written about the different areas that we had discussed. It has put them into perspective for me in manageable chunks.

I’ve already started on my Action Plan and will tackle it further this week.

Having the benefit of your perspective has been enormously helpful so thank you.                           Director, Visitor Attraction Services Provider

I thought you picked things up really quickly.  The exercise was really good for me as I sometimes wonder if we are pulling in different directions.         

Director of a family-run firm

I really found your input super useful and positive. Thank you lots.                                                          

Sole-trader, provider of bespoke business admin & finance systems

Thank you, thank you, thank you Louise. Much more for me this morning than just an hour of business support.

Woman-led enterprise (much discussion of balancing it all)

Training: Low Carbon Development & Renewable Energy – Planning Policy

Training for Local Authority Planners, Council Members, Planning Committee Members and Developers

Our training courses help Local Authority Planning Officers and Planning Committee Members understand the implications of government’s policy, the technologies they were likely to see in planning applications, and how their policies affect developments. They can help developers understand what planning policy means and what they need to include in their applications.

Our technical training sessions, workshops and site visits, cover topics such as:

  • Large scale renewable energy installations
  • Renewable heat and electricity for buildings
  • Low carbon design of housing and non-domestic buildings
  • Design for climate adaptation
  • Planning policy to support low carbon developments
  • Assessing planning applications
  • Carbon Calculations

Our training style is very responsive, so we incorporate lots of case studies, question and discussion sessions to make sure everyone has a chance to delve into the issues that are relevant to them, and can share experiences with others in the room.

Feedback from these training sessions:

“This series of courses has been the best I’ve been to for a very long time” – Joy Tetsill – Shropshire

“A must-go-to session for every policy and development control officer”

David Clarke – Malvern Hills

“Superbly structured seminar. Well presented and the willingness to answer and receive questions was very refreshing.  Thank you.”  Cllr Tom Marshall, Lichfield DC

If you need help in understanding planning policy or you need to make sure your Councillors and developers do then contact or give us a call on 01422 844172 to see how we can develop a course relevant to you.

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