Generating Energy

Energy use is split into the three categories of heat, electricity and transport and the following table gives an overview of the fossil fuels generally used and their sustainable alternatives.

Energy Use Fossil Fuels Sustainable Alternatives
Heat Mains gas, Oil, Electricity,
LPG, Coal
Wood, Solar thermal, Heat pumps
Electricity Grid electricity, Diesel Wind, Hydro, Solar photovoltaic
Transport Diesel, Petrol Biodiesel, Renewable electricity


Local potential for renewable energy

The total potential for sustainable renewable energy alternatives in the Gordano area was identified in the Renewable Resource report by the Centre for Sustainable Energy commissioned as part of the 2011 Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF) project.

The graph and table below summarises the energy potential for each technology as well as the CO2 and cost savings for the community.


Potential gen (kWh) Approx CO2 saving (t) Approx cost saving (£)
(electricity generation)
67,233,000 35,633 9,412,620
Solar pv
(electricity generation)
33,887,047 17,960 4,744,187
(heat generation)
33,600,000 6,384 1,276,800
Solar thermal
(heat generation)
12,056,449 2,291 458,145
(electricity generation)
700,800 371 98,112
ANNUAL TOTALS 147,477,296 kWh 62,640 tonnes £15,989,864

 What is a kWh?

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the standard unit of energy used by energy suppliers and is the amount of power consumed or generated in an hour.
For example a 1 kW electric heater will use 1 kWh every hour that it is running.

  • An average house will use about 12 kWh per day of electricity (4,400 kWh annually).
  • A cubic foot of natural gas (usually the last red number on your meter) is about 0.3 kWh.
  • An average house will use about 17,000 kWh of gas annually.


Wind power for electricity generation

The Renewable Resource report identified a number of areas that could be suitable for wind turbines of various sizes based on location, local wind speed and proximity to areas that may restrict this type of development. The maximum potential generation if turbines were deployed on all of the sites is shown above.

wind The maximum generation by turbine size:

  •     Small turbines up to 32,850 MWh
  •     Medium turbines up to 7,008 MWh
  •     Large turbines up to 27,000 MWh

Maximum potential generation = 66,858 MWh

Typically a large wind turbine will generate 2.5 MWh (2,500 kWh) when running at full capacity which is enough to provide electricity to 4,500 homes.

Biomass for heat generation

Wood can be burnt in domestic or large scale biomass boilers as an alternative to fossil fuels for heating. A 2011 study to assess the potential for producing energy from burning wood harvested sustainably from local woodlands was commissioned as part of the LEAF project.

This found that 25% of our area (3150 hectares) is woodland and 50% of this woodland is suitable for wood harvesting. It is estimated that 9,600 m3 of wood fuel could be harvested annually which could produce:- 33,600 MW hours of heat per year – a 525 kg carbon saving per year

Solar thermal to heat hot water

There are around 12,863 houses in our community that are suitable for either solar pv (electricity generation) or solar thermal (for heating water) and across these enough solar thermal panels could be deployed to generate 12,059,499 kWh each year.Solar thermal panels or tubes work by using the suns energy to heat water reducing the amount of work that a gas or biomass boiler will have to do.

Solar photovoltaic (pv) to generate electricity

Solar pv panels convert sunlight into electricity and provide zero carbon power for your home. The Housing Report from the Centre for Renewable Energy identified a maximum potential of 33,887,047 kWh annually if the maximum number of panels across the 12,863 of suitable houses were to be deployed.

Hydroelectric Power to generate electricity

As a coastal area Gordano has potential for energy generated from wave or tidal power. These are difficult to estimate and are likely to require years of work to install. For simplicity we have included an example based on a tidal generator at Portishead marina with a 100 kW capacity generating 700,800 kWh annual generation. Although small it highlights potential for generation from this resource.

Moorhouse performance


31 August 2016

Generation: 2,962.7 MWh

CO2 saved: 1,554.2 tonnes

Ham Lane performance


31 August 2016

Generation: 792.7 MWh

CO2 saved: 415.8 tonnes

New Projects

We have now installed three roof  mounted projects on community buildings in Long Ashton and Clevedon totalling 66kW. These were completed by the end of December 2015 to beat the very large Feed-in-Tariff reductions now in force by the Government. We are in negotiations over another 50kW roof scheme on a commercial roof. This has been pre-registered so will qualify for the higher FIT rate.     See our roof schemes HERE      At present we have no new schemes under consideration. We are looking for large community or commercial roofs with large daytime demand willing to enter 25 year roof leases.