Third Steering Committee Meeting
“It’s important to not just consider community projects but also wider hydrogen sector opportunities – how will your village or town’s hydrogen development connect to those in the surrounding region or nearest city, or how will your local government’s policy influence your decision making.
Through our Case Studies in SEAFUEL we’ve investigated these varying hydrogen scenarios – our Aberdeen case study looked at the development of a hydrogen bus network in Aberdeen. This case shows how excess energy from a wind farm could be used to install a filling station and power a range of buses across the region. While this project is larger than the average community based project, the ideas contained within could be scaled down. For example one wind turbine with an electrolyser added could provide fuel for local community vehicles. Equally green hydrogen (and oxygen) could be sold to provide income and remove the problem of curtailed usage of a turbine that cannot be connected to the grid in a rural location.
Furthermore, in our Iceland study it has been shown that when government, municipalities and the community work together, rapid and seismic change can be achieved. The island switched from a majority imported fossil fuel mix in the 1970s to over 85% of the local primary energy supply coming from renewable sources in the current day. This case study shows what can be done when your community group develops a working relationship with other authorities and sets out what work has been done in the hydrogen sphere since this change
Below you have the opportunity to expand your horizons – don’t be afraid to look at other hydrogen projects, sector bodies and companies and see how their solutions could benefit your community.”
Following the recommended code of practice, the secretary should present the minutes from the previous meeting, the chair should discuss the achievement of the actions of the previous meeting, the treasurer should give a brief report also.
Contributions from invited stakeholders (from previous meeting)
These will be local people who have a role to play in helping you achieve your aims: it could be a local politician, the chairperson of a community club or group, a representative of the local council office, or a member of a local religious community. Their presence and their contribution will help signify that you want to represent a broad community alliance and are happy to engage with existing groups and decision makers.
Establish stronger community network links
Building on the progress you have made start spreading the word about your committee’s plans. You should align these plans with the aims of the stakeholder networks. You should also investigate your plans in the light of local authority regulations.
Experts and Mentors
Reach out to experts/mentors in the area your committee is focusing its actions. Ask for their advice and assistance – it will not carry a cost in the first instance, and they will be able to guide you through the next steps. It is not advised that you carry out this step until you have completed the others above.
These are groups that have travelled down the sustainability route before you. Some of these are co-operatives and operate under the co-op principles of non-competitive, peer-to-peer engagement. They will be very willing to help out with advice.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Hebrides, Scotland)
Organisation of this should be delegated to a subcommittee which is willing to put in a lot of additional time. If you have carried out the stakeholder mapping exercise above, you will have identified the correct people with the skillsets and experience required to organise a successful public meeting.
You should consider inviting members of the expert groups, the beacon communities, and policy makers to contribute to the event. They will tell the story of what the potential benefits are to your plans.
Part of the presentation of your plans at this event should be to request the approval of the chosen corporate structure (i.e. a co-operative or a company limited by guarantee) so you will need to explain the implications of this at the meeting.
Form the required corporate entity. This will be needed to set up a bank account, apply for grants, and create formal partnerships with other bodies, but most importantly it protects the committee from personal liability. It can take a month so do this as soon as possible once it has been agreed. The expert mentors above can help with this process.