Oldham Energy Futures

How can local people uncover the potential to improve the power, heat and transport systems that underlie their homes, public spaces and local area and imagine how these changes could benefit their community?

In Oldham Energy Futures, our Energy Commons team will work with two neighbourhoods in Oldham, Sholver and Westwood, to discover, shape, test and own plans & projects designed to transform their neighbourhood.

For us putting citizens at the front and centre of decision making and planning in their local area is the key to kick starting the energy transition.

To find our more read on or follow the story of our two local energy community groups on social media, where we will share our materials, reflections and processes and begin to imagine what your community’s energy future could be.

How?

In the neighbourhoods of Westwood and Sholver, 24 local representatives will work with energy experts and planners to develop local energy action plans and hands-on projects. By learning about energy issues and making key recommendations on actions together they will build a vision for how the solutions created in making a low carbon neighbourhood can benefit local people.

We aim to…

  • Empower Oldham communities to shape their future energy system.
  • Develop bespoke local energy action plans for Sholver and Westwood, informed by local expertise and open data sets.
  • Model how developing local energy systems can provide economic, environmental and social benefit.  
  • Lock in community ownership of new energy infrastructure, policy and practices.
  • Create a model for neighbourhood energy action planning that places people at the centre of decision making, ready to be rolled out by local authorities, communities and anchor organisations.

Oldham will benefit through…

  • Local energy action plans that capture the communities view of what a decarbonised & resilient local heat, power and transport system should look like.
  • Three new pilot projects with seed funding and development support to:
    • Upgrade to local buildings, creating warmer, health and low carbon homes.
    • Develop an EV and ebikes local mobility project.
    • Install new renewable energy generation for the borough.
  • New capacity and knowledge held by the local energy champions and the surrounding community.
  • Strong community connections built between the local energy community group, Oldham Council and local anchor institutions like housing associations, community groups, hospitals and colleges.
  • Health, environmental and social benefits inherent in the visions and projects.

Timeline

2021

  • January: community mapping & energy opportunities data analysis
  • April: recruiting 24 local energy champions across our two neighbourhoods
  • June4 x diagnosis workshops unveiling the opportunities for improvement supported  by data mapping and visuals
  • September: 3 x dreaming workshops to imagine possible energy futures for each neighbourhood and the health, environmental & social benefits offered by each.
  • November: 2 x defining workshops to develop local energy action plans backed and  owned by the local energy community groups and supported by Oldham Council.

2022

  • January: 3 x community-led pilot projects to test drive the ideas of documented in the local energy action plan.
  • June: launch night + release of toolkit sharing our approach for others to follow

Get involved

Follow our story on social media @carboncoop.

Would you like to know more or get involved? Contact email Carly Harper at carly@carbon.coop.

Contributors

This project is being brought to life by an interdisciplinary team of experienced community facilitators, educators, energy experts and urban planners led by Carbon Coop.

  • Carbon Coop will be leading on project management, in-community education & facilitation, energy expertise and advice and pilot project set-up.
  • Oldham Council will be providing strategic oversight, community connections and Oldham specific data sets.
  • Urban planning cooperative Urbed will offer their expertise in community-led energy action planning to support the project.
  • Academic and data analyst Jamie O’Brien will be helping us to aggregate, map and visualize data sets to inform the local energy action planning process.
  • Community wealth building advocates CLES will support us to explore the potential local economic benefits that the plans and projects could lock-in for Oldham and a toolkit ready to be shared with others interested in leading a similar process locally.
  • University College London (UCL) anthropologist Hannah Knox will produce a research paper to be published in the journal Big Data and Society illustrating how publicly available datasets can be used for local benefit, and the challenges of utilising data within conflicted and complex communities.
  • Engineering cooperative LEDA will provide technical support to the pilot projects.

Funder

This project is funded by ICLEI. Find out more about ICLEI on their website.