Power to the People
With home energy bills constantly rising, is there any way in which electricity bills can be dramatically reduced? At their meeting on 18th March members of Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group heard of a new way of achieving this. On the 1st April the new Feed-in-Tariff came into effect. This gave generous rewards for householders who generated their own electricity.
Although the new tariffs apply to a range of technologies, the main impact on most homes will probably be seen in a marked increased in the popularity of photo-voltaic panels. Though these are expensive, the tariff now means that payback can be achieved in around ten to twelve years. The rate of return has been calculated at between six and eight per cent – much better than is now available for savings accounts. In addition the amount of electricity needed to be purchased from the utility company is much reduced - an average saving of around £150 p.a.
For each unit of electricity generated, the home owner will receive 41.3p plus an extra 3p for each unit exported. However there is a downside to this initiative. People who installed their PV systems before 15th July 2009 will not be eligible for the new tariff and all systems and installers must be Micro-generation Certification Scheme registered. The biggest problem relates to who really pays. Payment comes from the utility companies and it is reasonable to expect they will increase their standard rates to cover the cost. The poorest members of society and those that can't afford to install PVs, will probably be footing a significant part of the bill.
Politicians of all parties are being pressed to protect the poorest and provide low interest loans for people with limited capital. The savings the latter would make on their energy bills if they installed PVs would more than offset their loan costs.
The Group then heard that the Chair and Secretary had attended a Renewable Heat Incentive consultation meeting held at Machynlleth. It would appear that the Government now also intends to pay an annual tariff to householders who install a variety of renewable heat systems in their homes. This was necessary to fulfil EU treaty commitments. Final details of how the system will work are not yet available, but it is due to take effect from April 2011.
It was stressed that both these initiatives will result in more clean green energy, thereby helping to reduce our CO2 emissions and assisting in the battle against climate change.
It was also pointed out that these developments will have an impact on the Group's plan for a community renewable energy project. The improved financial returns now available mean that significantly more money would be available for carbon reducing projects within the community.
The meeting continued with the Secretary updating the members on the recent short talk given to Saundersfoot Community Council regarding progress with the energy project. She also reported that similar updates would be given to the community councils of East Williamston and Jeffreyston during April.
The next meeting of PSEEG will be on Thursday 22nd April 2010 at 7.00pm at the Regency Hall, Saundersfoot, when John Morris, one of the founders of the Talybont-on-Usk hydro scheme, will describe the problems encountered in setting up this pioneering renewable energy project. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend.
|12th March 2010||Heat Pumps & Photo Voltaic Panels: Prepare for the Goodlife|
|12th February 2010||Parliamentary Candiates at Green Question Time in Saundersfoot|
|15th January 2010||Weather & Climate: A Question of Energy|
|4th December 2009||Sustainable Community Ventures: Regeneration in Pembrokeshire|
|13th November 2009||Community Initiatives: Sustainable Wales leads by example|
|16th October 2009||Climate Change Challenge for Candidates & Micro-generation with wind turbines|
|2nd October 2009||A Visit to Castle Pill Wind Farm: Quiet blows the wind|
|11th September 2009||Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire|
|10th July 2009||A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential|
|12th June 2009||St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability|
|24th April 2009||Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire|
|13th March 2009||Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun|
|13th February 2009||Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?|
|14th November 2008||Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG|
|17th October 2008||PSEEG to become a Registered Charity|