Future Energy Landscapes in Alton

Energise South Downs, along with Energy Alton and Alton Climate Action Network, hosted a Future Energy Landscapes workshop in Alton on 15th May ’24 to attendees from the local area, including some district and town councillors.  It gave participants an opportunity to consider what Alton’s local energy needs are, what aspects of their local community and landscape are particularly important to them, and what mix of renewable technologies might be appropriate and acceptable in Alton.

There was overwhelming support in the room for renewable technologies in the local landscapes.  The conversation covered the barriers to implementing these technologies, but also looked at key sites where they could be deployed.

Onshore wind was very well received by the whole group and the use of solar farms was also favoured by the group.  Solar farms are already part of the landscape around Alton, and they would strongly welcome more. Installing rooftop solar panels on 75% of the residential buildings in Alton would contribute nearly one quarter of the town’s electricity demand. The group opted to install heat pumps on 80% of homes which would significantly reduce the towns heat demand from fossil fuels, cutting the towns CO2 emissions by approx. 10,000 tonnes CO2 per year.

One participant from Alton said: “I was already very positive about renewable energy. I think the workshop helped me to feel more informed about the possibilities.  I think community conversations are key to the success of (renewable energy) initiatives – to get people’s buy in and engagement.”

At the end of the workshop the participants acknowledged the important role that retrofitting has in reducing the overall demand, meaning less energy generation is needed. Simple measures like draft proofing, insulation and double or triple glazed windows to improve the energy efficiency of the lowest performing houses would reduce the overall demand significantly.

The aim of this workshop, the follow up report and wider public survey is to demonstrate that it is possible to develop a local vision for sustainable energy that is acceptable to the local community, and to use this as a springboard for project and policy development.

You can read the full report and complete the survey here.

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