Many people, like me, share a vision of a very different energy future. A future of low carbon, renewable energy, as far as possible cooperatively owned and controlled by local communities. I’ve written and spoken about this extensively. Despite the snow and ice a good number of people came to hear me talk in Ludlow on Thursday on the subject of ‘Renewables & Resilience’, organised by the wonderful Ludlow 21 group.
There is something of a fight-back by the big six and their political supporters who basically want to continue with ‘business as usual’. Changes are coming to both the tax regime and the legal structures that can be used for community renewables. George Monbiot wrote about these changes in rather alarming terms, and I wrote a blog that I posted and then took off-line 24 hours later. Having checked with Jon Halle at Sharenergy and a few other knowledgeable people, the situation is not as bleak as George suggests. It’s complicated, and still not totally clear, but it looks like community renewable energy will hopefully have a future after the changes. Meanwhile there is something of a surge of new coops launching over the next few weeks to beat the April tax changes.
Chase community solar are working with Cannock Chase Council to put solar panels onto the roofs of low income families and pensioners in Council housing. This will help drastically to reduce both fuel poverty and carbon emissions. The project will start doing 150 roofs and hope soon to expand to 300. Lots of other great projects moving forward, including the Ludlow hydro project: check-out the Sharenergy website for more information.
A couple of years ago I was running some of my evening classes in Ledbury. Out of those sessions an excellent group of local people came together and decided they wanted to start a renewable energy coop in Ledbury. After many trials and tribulations they are at last ready to start. I’m honoured to be speaking at their launch at the Feathers Hotel in Ledbury, 7.00pm, Thursday 5th February. If possible, do come, invest and join the coop: be part of the community renewable energy revolution.