Saturday, 30 November 2013

"Community energy offers a long-lasting solution that protects against ‘big six’ price rises and pumps money back into local areas.”

There have been several proposals on how energy can be generated by local people. These are postings from the last six months:
Futures Forum: Tidal Reef at Port Royal
Futures Forum: Community Energy events in Exeter
Futures Forum: SVEAG: an anaerobic digestion project
Futures Forum: Sidmouth hydroelectricity
Futures Forum: Do-it-yourself energy: community grids
Futures Forum: Renewable Heat
Futures Forum: Fracking in East Devon?
Futures Forum: Community Energy Coalition
Futures Forum: Free lighting for your shed... or home
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: the application
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: comments
Futures Forum: "Support communities who want to install renewable energy systems"

With the latest being the launch of the SidEnergy project this month:
Futures Forum: SidEnergy launch... at the Observatory... Thursday 14th November
Futures Forum: SidEnergy launch: event report
Futures Forum: SidEnergy launch: more event reports

Following on from the latest about energy price hikes and the politics around it
Big Six urged to freeze energy prices - Telegraph
Government denies asking Big Six for energy price freeze - Telegraph
the Telegraph posted a story today from the West Country - focussing on the most controversial form of renewable energy:

Desperate villagers turn to wind to cut energy bills

Sick of paying too much for power, locals banded together to generate their own

if the Government wants to avoid a re-run of the planning battles seen over wind farms, it must involve local people in the projects from the outset.
The residents of St Briavels in Gloucestershire put up a wind turbine to cut their energy costs. Photo: PA

7:53AM GMT 29 Nov 2013
Industrial-scale wind farms have aroused the anger of millions of people up and down the country. But a single turbine, built on the initiative of local people and sited on their own land, is a different story. The residents of one English village decided to put their own money into such a scheme to cut their bills, liberate themselves from the big power companies – and generate a decent 8pc return on their investment.
Their action came as millions of British households feel the chill this winter after being hit with above-inflation rises in their energy bills. Five of the “big six” gas and electricity suppliers have increased their energy charges in recent months, by an average of 8.1pc. The likelihood is that the only provider that has not raised bills, E.On, will make it a clean sweep in January.
The price rises, which have become a common feature every winter in recent years, sparked both public and political anger. More than 150,000 people have already started to act by switching to smaller energy firms, but the villagers of St Briavels in Gloucestershire have gone a step further.
Hundreds of locals were so keen to cut their costs for the long term that they paid for their local wind turbine earlier this year. The towering structure, a mile from their village, generates enough electricity to power 300 homes, a fifth of the local parish. Some residents invested £5, while others parted with as much as £50,000. In total £1.4m was raised to build the turbine via a crowdfunding website, Abundance Generation.
The residents benefit in two ways. The investment they have made in the wind turbine, which is situated on a farm in the village, has been put into a 20-year “community bond”. Under the terms of the bond the residents receive an 8pc annual dividend each year. In some years the dividend payment could be lower or higher, depending on how much electricity the turbine generates and sells. In addition, around £15,000 to £20,000 of the profits are put back into the community to fund local projects. The money has already been used to pay for new laptops at the village school.
The villagers also pay less for their energy. The turbine sells the power it generates to the local grid, qualifying it for payments under the Government’s “feed-in tariff” scheme. These “green taxes” inflate bills for customers across the country. The energy generated is sold to Co‑operative Energy, which gives the residents £50 off their electricity bills.
In total 427 residents have put money into the wind turbine, with the average resident investing £3,300. The average resident is therefore netting £266 a year from the 8pc return on their investment and a further £50 from their reduced energy bills, making an overall saving of more than £300. Some residents have saved even more. Anthony Cooke, the farmer on whose land the 74m turbine stands, receives free electricity worth around £9,000 a year.
Andrew Clarke and his wife Sue the village residents who set up the project, have both worked in the energy industry for more than two decades. Mr Clarke said the wind turbine had proved to be so successful because people felt they were being “ripped off” by high energy costs. “Everyone wants to cut down their energy bills, which rise year after year. By creating our own power the whole village is being more energy efficient and at the same time are saving a lot of money,” said Mr Clarke.
A recent report from Zipcar found that by putting aside money to offset food and energy bills the average Britain saves £531 a year. “Today with even more goods and services that can be consumed ‘on demand’, or shared, consumers are showing that saving money and being efficient is not just a fad,” said the firm.
Anna Watson of Friends of the Earth added: “People shouldn’t have to repeatedly switch energy supplier to stop themselves being ripped off – community energy offers a long-lasting solution that protects against ‘big six’ price rises and pumps money back into local areas.”
In recent weeks the big six energy firms have pledged to drop their fuel price rises if the Government agrees to cut “green taxes” in the Autumn Statement next month. These subsidise energy-efficient projects.
Mr Clarke said any change in the Autumn Statement would not affect the wind turbine in St Briavels. “Any changes will only have an impact on new energy projects, but I am confident that the Government will continue to support schemes that benefit both the environment and the community,” he said.
Desperate villagers turn to wind to cut energy bills - Telegraph

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