Dear Lord Callanan
I urge you most urgently to support these two amendments to the energy bill 237 and 238. I have been working in the community energy field for a long time and we need to reduce the market barriers for community groups and give them more certainty. From my experience they are key to achieving zero carbon as they not only keep the financial benefits of energy schemes’ local, they also encourage people to reduce their carbon impact. We have a lot to do to keep global warming below catastrophic levels.
Why have community energy schemes recently ground to a halt?
I believe this is largely due to current energy market and licensing rules. The recent Government interventions have been attempted but have failed to reverse the slump in new projects. The “Smart Export Guarantee”, which places a requirement on larger existing electricity suppliers to purchase power from small schemes, has no guaranteed purchase price or length of contract, making community investment almost impossible.
What should be done?
Support the amendments to the Energy Bill numbers 237 and 238.
A Community Electricity Export Guarantee: a right for sites that generate low carbon electricity with a capacity below 5 megawatts to export their electricity to an existing electricity supplier on fair terms (Amendment Number 237).
A Community Electricity Supplier Services Scheme: a requirement on existing larger suppliers to work with community schemes to sell the power they generate to local customers. Existing suppliers can charge a fee for doing this, but that fee must be reasonable (Amendment Number 238).
Here at Hockerton Housing Project we have helped many community groups in the past and if you would like to see some of these you would be most welcome.
Please see Sustainable Hockerton and its community wind turbine.
Mr S Tilley, CEng MEng MIMechE
Director, Hockerton Housing Project Trading Ltd
Sustainable Hockerton (SHOCK), a group of residents from the village of Hockerton, are celebrating the planning approval for the installation of a 225kW wind turbine within parish.
Since July 2006 residents of the parish of Hockerton have been meeting regularly to discuss becoming a zero carbon village.
The key objective of SHOCK is to try to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide production. A key first step was to develop a proposal to erect a community owned wind turbine, to generate clean electricity and use any profits to promote other objectives.
Care was taken to ensure that any area being considered was at least 500m from any property (well in excess of Government guidelines). A site about 1km from the next nearest village and sympathetically sited away from the neighbouring parish boundary was agreed as the location for the wind turbine.
A vote was conducted in February 2007 with about a quarter of the village residents responding of which 28 supported the idea and four were against. The majority of those in favour were also interested in financially investing in the wind turbine. It was therefore agreed to develop the proposal further towards a full planning application.
The objective of the wind turbine is to generate the equivalent amount of clean electricity that the homes use in the Hockerton parish.
On 21st March HHP provided the live location for Radio 4 programmes ‘You & Yours’ and ‘World at One’ as part of budget day.
Why? Well due to the expectation that the budget would include a number of ‘green’ measures to combat climate change. HHP were part of a panel of people asked to comment on the budget and in particular on any announcements by the chancellor to promote reduction in carbon use (or indeed what he did not annouce!).
Simon Tilley representing HHP gave a lukewarm response, welcoming insulation grants for pensioners, zero stamp duty for zero carbon homes, and support for renewables – but unhappy that aviation was not adddressed and that gas-guzzlers got away with meagre increases in VED.
Hockerton Housing Project has scooped an award in the National Energy Efficiency Awards run by UK CEED in partnership with EDF Energy . The event was also sponsored by defra and The Independent .
Nick White & Trudi Macagnino on behalf of HHP collected the top prize in the residential construction and renovation category this week (6 December) at the Science Museum in London.
Judges commented: “This is a commendable project that demonstrates how community leadership can achieve inspiring living spaces in absolute harmony with their surroundings”
“Hockerton Housing Project is an eco-community which grows much of its own food, generates its own power and enjoys massive energy savings. Over the past few years, the project has helped to spread the word that sustainable living is within everyone’s reach. To date, more than 10,000 people have visited to see it for themselves. The families have their own water collecting system and environmentally friendly sewage system – and their lifestyle produces other eco-benefits, such as the reduction in waste from food packaging.”
There was a special supplement about the awards & winners in ‘The Independent’ on 11th Dec 2006.
B&Q’s launch of £1500 roof-mounted wind turbines in 107 stores nationwide & online, has really caught the imagination of the media and general public.
Locally, HHP was invited on the 4th October to join Paul Johnson from B&Q in a live discussion on Radio Nottingham about this subject. Although we are concerned about the performance of such wind turbines and the manufacturers’ claims about energy production (click here for further information about HHP views and see an interesting article in the Observer ), we were pleased to hear from Paul that they were taking a very responsible approach. Each customer that applies for an installation will have a structural survey to ensure building integrity and assistance to apply for Government funding of approximately £500 and a condition of the funding is that the household must improve the energy efficiency of their homes. B&Q will also assess the viability of the wind turbines by considering how windy the area is.