By Stewart Dalby

Some of you might remember that I began last year’s Christmas message saying that 2017 had been a year of mixed fortunes for Greenbarrel. In February 2017 our original website crashed. Various attempts made to resuscitate it failed. The three founders of Greenbarrel myself, Barney Smith and Julian Singer spent from April through to mid-August constructing our new platform This involved repopulating the archives with our past best features and corporate comments while also writing new profiles for the mostly listed companies we write about. By September we were able to relaunch.

Two thousand and eighteen has been a lot better. Our own website has been functioning well, with our prime aim continuing to be to encourage and facilitate more informed investment in mostly quoted companies specialising in all aspects of renewable energy and clean technology. Our website also publishes general features across the whole spectrum of renewable and alternative energy matters including related subjects such as energy prices and other headings such as Bioenergy, Energy Storage, Hydro & Water, heating, Nuclear, Solar, Tidal & Wave, Transport, Wind and General which includes community projects.

However, during 2018 we have been able to expand our outreach to readers and subscribers as well as broaden our range of topics covered, and increase our activities in a fresh direction. This was because we formed a partnership with Climate News Network.Net. This website does what its title suggests, namely cover every aspect of climate change news. But it also writes on energy subjects. We have agreed with the editors of Climate News Network.Net that we can published articles of mutual interest that first appeared on their website on and vice-versa. So this has expanded our readership into the thousands of views rather than the hundreds.

Also, it so happens that one of the founding editors of Climate News Network.Net, Alex Kirby, is a neighbour of mine in Lewes, where I live some of the time and which is close to my alma mater, the University of Sussex. We met up and Alex and I have put together a project of mentoring at the University.

The idea here is that it is more difficult for young people these days to walk into jobs even with a good degree. Having some work experience on the CV before graduating helps in career progress. Sussex University like other universities has started a mentoring programme, in this case it is called Sussex Connect. This envisages alumni returning to the campus or getting in touch online and giving students the benefit of their experience in the work place.

Alex and his colleagues at Climate News Network have a lot of experience in tutoring and mentoring as they have held 150 workshops for journalists in 50–mostly third world countries. Our aim is to replicate this at Sussex with students from the energy, media and environment schools or departments.

We have started with a small group of PhD graduates in the Sussex Energy Group. We have had some general meetings and will resume in the New Year with some one-to-one sessions where we hope to show how to turn academic writing into news stories and features for the lay reader. Our ultimate goal is to publish their work on our websites which should help a lot with their CVs.

We are now taking a break over the festive season and the New Year period and will next publish on January 8. Meanwhile may I wish all’s followers the finest Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2019.