30/03/2020: Shock as old dog learns new tricks

Hello out there. I hope that, as we draw to the end of the first week of lockdown, you are all keeping safe and well, and that you are in good spirits.

Perversely the extra time I’ve had at home has allowed me to put a bit more effort into social media and to determine some enhancements to the New Anglia Energy website. There are two particular things I’d like to highlight.

First, I’ve learnt the rudiments of a vlog and how to make them, and the first one is up on YouTube and my website today. Here’s the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCgn84iOALs and here’s the post on the website: https://www.newangliaenergy.co.uk/blogs/taking-it-local-making-it-real-vlog-1-nigel-learns-a-new-trick/. If you access via the website, you will see it in the “blogs/vlogs” section. 

I have to say that looking at the vid it does appear as if I’ve been on the sherry, but it really was the lighting using the webcam. From here on I am hoping to use my new Canon EOS M50 and have made a particular note of trying not to look quite so much like Worzel Gummidge.

The theme in so far as there will be one is “Taking it local, making it real”. This is all about monitoring the various streams in progress around delivering the Net Zero by 2050 target and using the knowledge around energy and transport I have built up to catalyse and progress local debate, awareness and initiatives. We all have a role to play in that. The focus is of course East Anglia but much of the thinking will have a wider currency.

Another vlog will be following shortly on net zero governance, reflecting some of the comments I made at a recent Association for Distributed Energy forum hosted by Squire Patton Boggs. Watch this space.  Others will follow over the coming weeks on among other things community energy, municipal supply and the “five Hs” – heat, hydrogen, highways, habits and homes (being one) and habitat.  

The second change is that I will be expanding the New Anglia Energy website to include intelligent and, I hope, stimulating comment from others on net zero and related issues and of course COP26. There is a prodigious amount of material that already flows past on social media, and some of it is very good indeed. What I want to do is create a dedicated area of the site that allows people to access some of the more interesting thinking, and over time develop a virtual forum for debating it. I am calling this the NetZeroHub and we already have a social media channel reserved to support it. 

So if you have something on the shelf or are working on something you think might benefit from visibility through New Anglia Energy, let me know either through messaging me on LinkedIn or by emailing [email protected].

One of my key assumptions here in informing these moves is that the way we need to work is already beginning to change as a result of the COVID crisis, and it is looking as if the current limitations will extend at least through spring into early summer. Some of these changes in working patterns will prove enduring. It’s striking to me at least that many of us have adapted quickly to home working through for instance teleconferencing and skype-ing. In many ways, I think we will work more efficiently as a consequence.

But what we will miss, I suspect, are the side conversations, the informal chat and the discussions that occur around and between meetings. So I’m hoping that by putting more effort into the site and accessing good quality information and comment, we can start to create alternative ways of building debate and engagement and foster understanding.

Finally, as I write this, I note that I am now well past 2000 followers on Twitter. Thank you to all who have taken the time to follow, and I can see from my stats that I am enjoying a high level of engagement (likes, retweets, replies). That augurs very well for moving forward and building on these moves I’ve highlighted in this note. But if you don’t already follow me, please do: my Twitter handle is @NewAngliaEnergy.

So let’s use this unexpected set of circumstances to try and turn necessity into a virtue by working together more efficiently but also more enjoyably.

Bye for now.

Nigel