Six local workshops in DG make the difference

Six local workshops in DG make the difference
Published by Simon McKinney on

An overview of the six local fora workshops helping local Dumfries and Galloway 100%RES Communities to advance their sustainabilty targets


Local Forum    Date Attendee   No.  
Wind 21   January 2013 12  
Building Envelope 1   February  2013 17  
heat pumps 05   February 2013 11  
Hydro 19   February 2013 10  
Biomass 19   March 2013 15  
Solar 27   March 2013 16  
  Total                            81  

Local Fora - Wind Power Fora Workshop 21 January 2013 Cargen Tower, Dumfrieshire 

Overview of capacity building workshops for 100 RES Communities.

As part of the IEE 100 RES Communities project Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland launched a season of capacity building workshops on the 21st January at the Garroch Training centre, Cargen Tower.


The workshop hosted by project partners Community Energy Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council brought together Community groups from across the region to discuss the merits and challenges of wind technology within this region. The two presentations and group sessions, from Paul Neary from Neo Consultancy and Clark Thompson discussed the background to the wind industry in Scotland. Approaches to initial feasibility assessments were widely debated especially given the proximity to the Eskdale Muir Seismic research centre and turbine impact within the monitoring zone.


Further discussion focussed on project development and project management highlighting planning constraints & environmental considerations as the greatest concern for Communities developing wind farms. Breakout topics ranged across - access to development land, grid connectivity/capacity within a sparsely populated rural region and the application process; financial modelling with regards to feed in tariffs, payback periods and turbine choice. The importance of adequate and appropriate insurance was lead by Clark Thompson which clarified the breadth of potential hazards often overlooked by Community projects.


At the end of the session members from the Community groups were presented with several tools to enable them to produce detailed financial models for local community based Sustainable Energy Action Plans - based on location, turbine(s), Feed in Tariffs and other variables..



Building Envelope Fora Workshop: 1st February 2013: 10:30 – 16:30

Venue: Cargen Bridge, Dumfrieshire



Insulation Presentation – Tom Bell DGC

Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera Demonstration – Antony Beretti

Home Analytic Software – Angela Lamont DGC

Facillitator – S Mckinney CES


Tom Bell introduced, to the thirteen group members assembled, the complexity of building construction, taking participants through roof, wall, floor construction indicating the EE risk factors and how to retrofit troublesome properties. The discussion clarified the U value for each measure taken and illustrated the potential saving to be made.


Comments included challenges with Conservation areas, Listed buildings, condensation and problems arising from the removal of grants for insulation.


After lunch the focus moved to methods of examining properties and assessing heat loss.


Antony Beretti (a thermal imaging consultant) demonstrated the use of thermal imaging  cameras to identify hot spots on the extremities of properties. It provided a clear example of how heat was lost and how simple it is to assess root causes.

Two communities agreed to trail the camera to provide evidence when engaging their local communities.


Home Analytic software demonstration illustrated a recent available for communities to use to predict structural components on properties within the settlements. This was a lead tutorial of the software which groups could access free of charge at DGC. The software uses collated data sets from Scottish Government, Gas Safe, DECC, EST as well modelled data gathered from property surveys across several million homes in the UK. The data was then extrapolated to predict with upto 99% certainty property features such as wall construction, window type, installed insulation, heating type. This data could be plotted onto a GIS map down to street level. The benefit of this software is that it enable communities to study their settlement without resorting to individual property surveys. Print outs of segments of each community groups area were provided.


Questions and comments: How accurate was the data? It will not show the difference between other heating types, how to gain access to the software.




Local Forum – Heat Pumps workshop  5th February 2013, 10.30 – 12.30pm

Veune: British gas Green Skills Academy, Irongray R, Dumfries


Speakers R Alex, Danny Queen, Chris Wood Gee

This forum was a specialist workshop run on the partner’s behalf by a national energy supplier British Gas. The speakers were experts in the technologies behind heat pump, both installation and specification. The community group turnout (seven group members) was below anticipated levels however the timeslot was the only available.

The session began by discussing the concept behind the technology and allowed participants to examine firsthand condensing units. The main sources were discussed with the effect on internal heating functions such as enlarging radiators and under floor heating and their effectiveness in the Scottish climate

Installation examples (air, ground and water source and Air to air) and case studies were examined indicating the planning regulations relating to each. Large schemes were also included including an example from the community centre in New Galloway, which members were encouraged to visit.

In the second section Danny Queen discussed costs of installations, anticipated effectiveness and efficiencies, levels of maintenance and availability of finance especially for community groups.

Prior to closing the session a discussion on the new Renewable Heat Incentive and expected returns was undertaken by Chris Wood Gee.

Questions from the group related to the new green deal scheme.


Local Forum – Hydro Project Development Workshop 19th Feb 2013 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Venue:  Castle Douglas Town Hall, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway.


Chairperson:  Simon McKinney, Facilitated by:  Angela Lamont


Several community groups as well as three local councillors (Cllr Carruther, Cllr Peacock, Cllr Male) took part in this fora capacity building workshop at Castle Douglas, a small settlement in West Dumfries and Galloway.


This main presentation was undertaken by James Buchan from Community Energy Scotland. The Hydro Workshop examined all aspects of Hydro development projects. Questions were welcomed throughout the presentations.


The elements discussed included suitable watercourses and recognizing potential. Examining technological solutions to hydro installations. Engaging landowners and land access issues including the National Forest estate. Environmental impact and flow assessments. Grid connections and costs. Financial planning in the context of project planning and the potential returns over the mid to long range for use within the community.


Questions from the floor included :


How to overcome Scottish Environmental Protection Agency objections to projects.

Raising sufficient capital for hydro projects.

Suitable disused waterwheels, dams and weirs in Dumfries and Galloway

Effect on  marine life (Salmon and Trout being the main concern). 


The secondary workshop  presented by Simon McKinney (Community Energy Scotland) encouraged communities to further develop their local SEAP, Using a round robin setting groups discussed the progress and challenges faced. Issues raised included resources, data access and energy audits.



Local Forum Biomass Systems Workshop19th March 2013 18:00 – 20:30

Venue Barony RUC College - Forestry and Arboriculture, Dumfries and Galloway



John Gilland is an Irish Renewables entrepreneur and advisor to UK and  European governements.

David Mathers, Mathers ltd

Pearl Edgar, Barony College.


The session was split into two parts , introduction and then presentation on the various types of Biomass system, funding, RHI,  ESCos agreement, design criteria and maintenance. The presentation was given by Chris Mather and John Gilliland who have been working on Biomass  particularly with the local agricultural community for twenty years. They deal with everything from fuel supply chains to installation and operation of boilers and associated plant and entered into lively discussions with the participant groups on the realities of biomass systems at domestic and commercial levels.

The presentations and discussions covered:

  • Why biomass?
  • Types of fuel source-pellet, chip, log
  • Decision process for selection of fuel type including materials handling, sizing and space requirements
  • System design

–        importance of having a good design to ensure that the heat requirement is met

–        components of biomass systems

–        buffer storage

–        fuel storage

–        moisture content

–        linking to existing heat emitters

–        non biomass back up

  • Management and maintenance of biomass systems
  • RHI- incentives and support for Biomass and heat technologies

–        Commercial/domestic (I know the latter is guess work at present )

–        Heat metering

–        Registration

–        Degression of support costs

–        Tier 1 and tier 2 support rates

  • Procurement implications-

–        ESCO,

–        Heatv purchase

–        Own/operate   

–        outright purchase,

–        outline costs of systems

–        Importance of accreditation of suppliers


The presentation was followed by a site visit, lead by Pearl Edger, to the biomass systems and district heating systems installed on site at the Barony. She demonstrated the system in detail and discussed the trials and tribulations difficulties they had encountered on the commercial scale especially RHI metering issues between buildings. The 15 participants enjoyed a rare experience in gaining detailed access to a wide area district heating system.

Local  Fora – Solar PV and thermal systems workshop 27th March 2013 18:00

Venue : the Conference Room at Castle Douglas Town Hall



Roger Houston

Robert Kelly

Chris Wood Gee


The final fora workshop was a master class on renewables with Roger and Robert undertaking the most comprehensive explanation of solar power and heat systems. From building suitability, installation, capacity, grid connection, maintenance and life expectancy.


Twelve participants from community groups were actively asking questions and engaging in discussion on the application for community building. The section on return on investment was a hot topic given the reduction in the feed in tarriff in the same month.  RHI for solar thermal was of particular interest given the introduction of both green deal and the imminent arrival of domestic RHI.


The speakers from Solway solar produced case studies demonstrating the effectiveness of solar even in Scotland  and welcomed participants to visit installations across Dumfries and Galloway.


Chris drew to conclusion the local fora workshop engaging the participants to discuss the progress and challenges faced on SEAP preparation. Communities expressed an understanding of the process and all had identified potential projects suitable for their communities. The main challenges related to available time and matters of community / landowner engagement. Expectations was that all local SEAP’s would be delivered by Easter 2013.


Conclusions by Chris iterated the SEAP preparation and the development of the joint SEAP highlighting the next phase of the project selection of actions and finance workshops to be run after the summer break in accordance with views expressed by group members.


















Fora Workshop Participants List




Participant list -  Loca Fora


Dumfries and Galloway Council


Councillor Peter Diggle

Councillor Ian Carruthers

Councillor Patsy Gillroy

Councillor Peacock

Councillor Denis Male


Community groups


Andi Holmes

Anne Botel

Andrew Wood

Katherine Elliot

C Forbes

Cara Gillespie

Carolyn MacKay

David Steel

Edwin Hunter

George Brockbank

 Ian Mcmickan

 John Galt

 Julia Muir Watt

 Keith Warford

 Ken Smyth

 Malcolm Oldfield

Mike Steele

Naomi Wight

Norman Hutcheson

Robert McCafferty

Ros Hill

Stuart Ditchburn

Wullie Finlay



Solway Solar ltd

Barony College

Gilliand ltd

Mathers Ltd

A Bernetti