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
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.
The Newark Advertiser covers this month’s voting on our wind turbine, bringing success after five years of planning applications…
Conservation pioneers were celebrating this week after winning a five year battle to build an 85ft wind turbine to power their homes.
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee backed the Hockerton Housing Project’s latest bid to erect the electricity generating windmill at its meeting.
The proposals, which have divided opinion in Hockerton, were approved by the narrowest of margins – the committee finding in favour of the turbine four votes to three, with one abstention.
Residents of the project have been seeking approval for the scheme since January 1995 and have seen three applications fail.
An appeal to the Department of the Environment against the rejection of their application in August 1995 was dismissed on the grounds the turbine would be an eyesore.
But Mrs Trudi White, a Hockerton Housing Project resident, said the mood at the development was now jubilant.
“It is just fantastic. We have struggled for so long for this, repeatedly hitting our head against a brick wall and having to contend with some very nasty personal comments from objectors.
“We have continued because we believe it to be the right thing to do.”
Mrs White said the residents needed to raise £10,000 to build the turbine but they hoped to have it in place on Mystery Hill next year.
And she said she hoped the animosity between the supporters and objectors would subside.
“What I hope is that, in time, a lot of the concerns will be alleviated. I think people will realise there has been a lot of fuss about nothing.”
At last week’s planning meeting the turbine plan was criticised by the committee’s Conservative members.
Mr Keith Sheppard (Con) said although the Hockerton Housing Project residents would benefit from the turbine, it would be at a cost to other locals.
“It is going to be catering for them but at a price for the village. This structure of 80-odd foot only benefits five houses. If it was going to supply the village I could understand it, but it is not,” he said.
Mr Vincent Dobson (Con) said: “This is going to be a monster. What consideration have we got for the people that live close to it? I think it is outrageous,” he said.
Mrs Sylvia Michael (Con), whose Caunton ward includes the Hockerton site, also addressed the meeting.
She urged members to think carefully before making any decision and said she supported Hockerton Parish Council which objected to the scheme on visual grounds.
“Two hundred metres away from the nearest property is not very far for something that towers 85ft into the sky.”
But council leader Mr Stan Crawford (Lab), chairman of the Newark and Sherwood Energy Agency, strongly defended the turbine plan.
“It is about the future, not only of their families, but others and the wider community and, in fact, the planet.
“I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown. We are talking about the final piece of the jigsaw in a very innovative project.”