Cornish self sufficiency

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…..

6 comments on “Cornish self sufficiency

  1. The hapless Mr Lean yet again. But it is worth remembering the political leadership for this crackot scheme came from the current leader of the Labour Party who would wish to be PM. What judgment!

  2. Pure idiocy.

    Similar thing in Spain. Feed-in tariffs were so great that people/solar production companies started plugging in to the grid, taking out electricity and feeding it back in to get the tariff. We ended up with solar farms producing electricity during the night!!!

    But it doesn’t matter, they care about Gaia. I obviously don’t.

    Tim, how many babies are you going to eat in 2012?

  3. I suppose we should welcome “Mw” as less silly than the customary journalist’s “mW”. But you’d think that it shouldn’t be beyond their wit to find one member of their staff who knows about these things at GCSE level.

  4. “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.”

    *giggles*

    Oh, schadenfreude, you most wonderful of feelings…

  5. dearieme: just be thankful the article didn’t read “5 Mw a year” (or .159 kg m^2 s^-4, whatever that might mean physically).

  6. To get an understanding of the amount of power generation I like to convert these kW numbers to my preferred unit, the Austin Metro.

    This solar generation is the equivalent of seven and a half 1.3 litre Austin Metros, which is about one Metro for every 250 homes.

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