For today it will launch an attempt to become Britain\’s first solar town.
Backed by the local MP and chamber of commerce, the scheme aims to generate a third of the electricity used by the town\’s 10,000 people from renewable sources – mainly the sun – by 2015, and make up to £450,000 a year for community projects from the Government\’s feed-in tariff.
The Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network, a not-for-profit co-operative, will put solar panels gratis on the roofs of local homes and businesses, allow them to use the free electricity, and collect the tariff for the community fund. Local landowners will be offered attractive deals to install larger arrays and a couple of wind turbines will be added to the mix. Anyone from the town can join the co-operative and decide how the money is spent.
Fascinating. But there\’s something to strike terror into the heart of anyone numerate on that website:
WREN has links with the renewable energy industry, the co-operative movement, the New Economics Foundation NEF,
And yes, you\’re right, nowhere is there any explanation of how this actually works.
The way it\’s all written they seem to have found that elusive invisible money tree. They\’re going to make a profit from the feed in tariffs are they? But the feed in tariffs are calculated to give an 8% return on the capital invested.
And they\’re giving the solar panels away for free. So, erm, where is the capital coming from? And that is something that I can\’t find anywhere. Who is paying?
I suspect that it is of course us who are doing so. We\’re buying them these free solar panels out of our taxes.
The community of Wadebridge and surrounding villages are entitled to benefit from their own natural energy resources and subsequent production, rather than the traditional model of large companies profiting outside of the town, the county of Cornwall, or even outside of the UK.
Doesn\’t really fly, does it? If we\’re putting the capital in then we get the capital returns, no?
Or if you want to think of it another way, some poor sod in Middlesborough is coughing up his taxes so that the people of Wadebridge get to have \”free\” electricity plus £450,000 a year to spend on community projects.
If anyone can find out where the money is coming from I\’d love to know.