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I've been dying to get out to sea and view the Rampion Windfarm that starts 12km off our coast.

Way back in 2013 when I was selected as a candidate here I announced my support for it, and since then I've done all I can to make sure it was developed sensitively and as beneficial to our community as possible.

Rampion Windfarm

I am totally passionate about renewable energy and I've sued this project to learn more not only about the technical side of wind generation, but about what it takes to make it a reality.

So last year I travelled up to Edinburgh to visit the head office of the Green Energy Bank. They used to be a public investment agency (now it's been privatised...) and they put the final £250m to make this £1.3bn project a reality.

I've also met numerous times with the managers that have made this astonishing project happen, right up to the CEO of E.on.

Recently the CEO and much of his senior team came down to Sussex and took me out to visit the farm out at sea. My team were so excited and fascinated at the thought there was no way they were letting me head out there alone so we all went along together. Stella, who heads up the casework here in Hove, is also a solar energy campaigner who campaigned to have an array put on one of our local schools. It was brilliant to see her grilling E.on executives as we made our way out to sea!

The farm is stunning to see up close, but it's really hard to get a sense of the scale of it even when you're standing underneath the blades as they're spinning.

Rampion wind farm turbine

So get this: when the blade it at it's highest point it is several metres higher than the pod goes on the i360. From land the turbines look closely packed, but in fact they are half a kilometre apart. There is a lift in the shaft of each windmill to take engineers to the top. In the housing at the top there's enough room for the gearing and generators, and should the weather change and it not be possible to retrieve the engineer once they're onboard, then there's enough room for them to bed-down and spend the night there right at the top!

And it's really high-tech too. A beam of something (it's too scientific for me!) is sent out from the top of each turbine into the distance that detects changes in wind direction and adjusts the position of the turbine so that it's perfectly positioned at the exact moment the wind arrives to get optimum efficiency.

There's a dedicated apprenticeship programme so local youngsters benefit from this amazing investment and most of the jobs running and maintaining the installation are from the Sussex area. I didn't realise, stupidly, just how much maintenance the turbines need to keep running. The wear and tear on the gearbox and generators is huge in performs of consistent wind. So far there's only one female engineer out there working the turbines, but hopefully that will grow in time.

It was great to have the E.on boss, Mike, out there with us. The company has now closed all of it's coal power stations and is focussing 100% on non-carbon electricity generation. The Rampion wind farm alone is now producing about a third of the electricity requirement to fulfil a third of East and West Sussex's households combined. This is great news.

Wind power is sometimes controversial. Marine conservation is an issue, in this case construction paused for four months a year to allow a rare fish to spawn undisturbed, and now that construction has finished fish stock is still at normal and fishing is allowed as per normal so our local fishermen are not affected.

Some people have complained about the obstructed view of the seascape. Several people have contacted me asking that I try and have the whole thing taken down! But I have to be honest, I love this project and I'm immensely proud of it.

Too often in cities we are divorced from where our energy comes from, we have no relationship with it. That's changed for us now and we as a community can say that we're doing our bit to keep the lights on but in an environmentally sustainable way.

The next massive push we need as a country is on energy conservation. Almost half of the energy we consume as a nation goes on heating. We are one of the least heat efficient countries in the whole world and that must change. We must have a Victorian-scale programme of upgrading our housing stock to become more efficient and that's something I am going to be speaking a lot more about in the future.

I'll also continue to comapaign for better support for micro-generation on our own homes. Solar and battery technology are about to transform how we can be more sustainable as households and this is hugely exciting.

Visit To The Rampion Windfarm

I've been dying to get out to sea and view the Rampion Windfarm that starts 12km off our coast. Way back in 2013 when I was selected as a candidate...

I introduced my bill to lower the voting age to 16 into the House of Commons!

Peter Kyle MP

I think our politics and society is missing out on the wisdom and insight of young people and we need to act. Each generation has to reasses it's democracy and see if it's as inclusive as possible and not needlessly excluding people.

A young person educated to GCSE level has all of the knowledge and critical thinking needed to decide on the character of the a canddiate and understand the polcies they are standing on.

And there's a big problem in the UK right now and that's the fact that 16 year olds can vote in Scotland, in Wales and in the Chanel Islands, but not in England or Northern Ireland.

England has become a democratic laggard. Voting in the UK has become a postcode lottery for 16 and 17 year olds.

There's lots of arguments that need to be tested, and many were done so today. My speech lasted for less than ten mins and you can watch it here if you have the time, I'd love to know what you think.

There are arguments against this that do need testing, but I only ask one thing. Before you post a comment here giving a reason why 16 year olds can't vote, ask yourself if that could also be applied to other age groups too.

And secondly please don't link voting with public health. 16 year olds can't buy tabacco products but should that really mean they can't vote too? Afterall, I want smoking banned altogether at some point, does that mean we have to ban voting too if you believe there is a link between the two?

So how did it go today? Well, I was second on the order paper and I've been working really hard to build a consensus in the Commons. In fact I've been working a little too hard and lots of Tories decided to support my bill and that scared the goverment a little so they deployed one of their tricks. Business had to finish by 2.30pm today in the Commons, so they encoraged people speaking in the previous debate to talk longer than usual so it squeezed my own debate down to less than half an hour.

However I'm not bitter! I got to speak and I was followed by Scottish Tory MP Luke Graham who made a brilliant speech that bravely supported my bill.

This is a big step in the right direction. Number 10 was forced to issue a comment today denying it was giving way on this, MP's from all party's are gaining confidence. I know that this will happen, it is inevitable, and the sooner the better so that young people can have a bigger say in the big decisions being made now that will impact them more than anyone.

Lower The Voting Age To 16

I introduced my bill to lower the voting age to 16 into the House of Commons!

I thought I’d let you know the sort of things I get up to on a Saturday like today. It’s been a busy day.

St Anne's Well Festival

I started off this morning by chairing an event for residents in Brunswick to come together and discuss the housing challenges we face. Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey MP kindly came here for the event. It’s so important for people like John, local councillors, and myself to listen to residents and be available to answer questions. The three hour event was a huge success and I’m so grateful to people for taking the time to be there.

Then I shot off to welcome a Christian groups from all over Sussex and Kent who’s come together here in Hove for a lunchtime event of food, discussion and worship.

And then straight over to Hangleton to spend time at a Ramadan Bazar. It was simply amazing! Arabic speakers from all over the city came together to celebrate and enjoy traditional food from different Arabic countries.

It was such a joyous event and I loved meeting so many energised and excited people, especially the kids who had taken so much time to come in traditional dress.

Then, via Nando’s, I dropped into an Artist Open House. Each year as part of the Brighton Festival people team up with artists and turn their homes into art galleries. How cool is that? The one I dropped in to had seven artists on display and if I hadn’t left my wallet at home on purpose I’d have been seriously tempted by some of it!

The final stop of the day was to an event I so look forward to every year, the St Anne’s Well Gardens Festival. But this year it was slightly different to was sodden! The rain had seriously put a dampener on things so my job was just to say a huge thank you to the soaked volunteers for braving the weather. On the bright side, there wasn’t a queue at the hog roast tent this time!

Amazing Community Events in Hove

I thought I’d let you know the sort of things I get up to on a Saturday like today. It’s been a busy day.

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