Wadebridge responded. A packed meeting of 600 people last January set up a non-profit
co-operative to get 30 per cent of the town’s electricity from local renewable sources within five years. As it grew, more and more of the £10 million a year the town spends on energy was to be retained in the area, generating prosperity rather than going to distant companies, while by 2015, the co-operative was to be earning £300,000 a year for community projects.
Thus committed to realising David Cameron’s dual ambitions for a Big Society and a low-carbon economy, the town was originally on track – thanks to a generous national feed-in tariff set by the last government – to install more than 5Mw of solar electric capacity by April. Now, after a series of cuts to the incentive, this is stalling at just over 400?kw, less than a tenth as much, and is unlikely ever to grow much further.
My word, what has happened to halt this scheme?
The cuts were understandable since the cost of solar panels has fallen steeply, boosting demand for them and income from the tariffs far beyond original projections: the former tripled between June and October alone. First, the Government imposed a cap on the supposedly limitless finance. Then it slashed the tariff for big installations over 50?Mw, so as to concentrate it on householders. And now it is planning immediately to halve it for everyone else, to reduce it even further for multiple installations and to specify that buildings must meet high energy efficiency standards before they qualify.
Oh, OK, I get it.
They were going to be self sufficient with the aid of millions of pounds of money from other peoples\’ electricity bills. Money flowing in from national consumption. Now that the external cash isn\’t coming in they won\’t be self sufficient.
Not that relying upon 65 million people to send you money is really self sufficiency in the first place…..