As an eco-worrier, here’s a question I’ve been pondering:

What if Camden could be self-sufficient in energy?

How could we cover Camden with solar panels with community energy storage, heat pumps everywhere - a new fossil fuel free Camden? What if all buildings were heated by ground/air source heat pumps, replacing gas boilers? There was a shared local grid where Camdeners could buy & sell electricity to their neighbours?

What if all buildings had an 'A' energy rating? Buildings were insulated by a newly-created Camden Retrofit Academy, run by Camden school leavers (
What if no energy was wasted and Energy Savers Clubs were rolled out across the borough? (

Ham & High: Debbie Bourne dreams of a fossil free CamdenDebbie Bourne dreams of a fossil free Camden (Image: Debbie Bourne)

What if we all turned down thermostats and heated ourselves, not our homes?

Heating ourselves, eh? Wonder if my ‘hot’ neighbour would fancy a big of snuggling up!

And my vision continues: Could there be energy-generating pavements? Energy-generating gym equipment?

Talking about gyms, there is an immediate action you can take to help one of make these visions happen, right now.

Power Up North London, an amazing volunteer-led community benefit company that delivers a range of community energy projects, with a focus on solar pv. PUNL has just launched a share offer to raise £80,000 to install a rooftop solar array at Talacre Sports Centre, in Dalby Street, Kentish Town.  

The panels are scheduled to be installed in the second quarter of 2023 and will generate an estimated 80 MWh of electricity, which is more than a third of Talacre’s annual usage, saving 12 tonnes of CO2e each year, equivalent to planting 1,800 trees. For a minimum of £250 and a maximum of £5,000, dear reader, you could get a 4% return on this fantastic green investment, and do something to make a huge difference in Camden 

Important community projects like these protect us all from future cost of living crises by providing cheaper energy. They make us more energy self-sufficient by making us less dependent on pricier fossil fuels. 

Residents from all walks of life in Camden are coming together to address the climate crisis, inequality and division, to build a better future. If we act as individuals, it will be too little. But if we act as one big Camden Community, it might just be enough, and it might just be in time. 

Come on you wonderful people, what are you waiting for? Sign up at:

Debbie Bourne is a Think&Do Activator and author