PM Cameron praises community-based solar & decentralised energy

Eynsham's Solar PV system

by James Martin II on September 24, 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron had words of praise for the role of decentralised energy in de-carbonising the UK’s economy at the opening ceremony of a 12.56kWp solar PV system at Eynsham’s village hall last week. Eynsham’s solar system has been installed as part of its People’s Power Station program, under which the community is pooling its resources in order to invest in renewable energy generation sources in preparation for the shutdown of a nearby 2 gigawatt (GW) coal- and gas-fired power plant in 2015.

The Prime Minister pointed out the power of decentralised renewable energy to both curb carbon emissions as well as diversify the UK’s energy generation mix. He came out to the ribbon-cutting in his Witney constituency to show his support for such projects, saying:

It makes sense as a country to be less reliant on sources of oil and other fuels from difficult and dangerous parts of the world. It makes sense to be more diversified and what could be more diversified than local sources and locally produced energy. We’ve got to stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere if we care about climate change and solar power can help us do that.

What you’re doing here [in Eynsham] as a decentralised energy project is hugely important in cutting carbon, providing jobs, making us resilient and important in the long-term to have low cost energy. I’m personally very committed to this agenda.

It’s great for me as Prime Minister to come and see this project to praise the People’s Power Station… the meetings I’ve had with local green groups gives me great inspiration about decentralised energy.

The People’s Power Station project is being facilitated by the Low Carbon Hub, a local green group that has been working closely with Oxfordshire Council and community organisations to develop the ambitious scheme, whose mission is to replace the Didcot A coal and gas plant with an equivalent amount of decentralised, renewable energy generation capacity. The plant is to be closed because of its failure to meet EU carbon emissions standards–it is the second most CO2 polluting plant in the UK. Since most renewable energy sources cannot be run 24 hours a day, energy efficiency measures will also be a big part of the Low Carbon Hub’s initiative.

Barbara Hammond, Director of the Low Carbon Hub, said about the project,  “We know from the work we’ve done with Oxford University that we have enough renewable energy resource in the county to meet these requirements as long as we hit national carbon reduction targets in 2020. … We’re not financing all the installations but are in the process of raising the cash to provide support to a raft of community projects. There are more than 60 community groups we can work with across the whole county.”

Community funding is becoming an increasingly popular way of financing solar systems and other renewable energy projects, both in the UK and internationally, reducing the capital necessary to install a system. The UK’s Feed-in Tariff then provides a steady revenue stream for homes and businesses that install solar.

Top image via Eynsham Parish Council

© 2012 Solar Selections Ltd

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