Support Greg Barker: Be One of His Big 60,000
How’s this for Government support for Renewables?
The Prime Minister says: “I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces. “ The potential effects of climate change are the basis of the planet-wide push for greener energy.
Next up, Energy Minister Greg Barker says he wants: “A decentralised power to the people energy revolution – not just a few exemplars but tens of thousands of them. The Big Six need to become the Big 60,000…We must also look to do far more to integrate our new policies that help families produce their own renewable electricity.”
Sounds great doesn’t it? The National Farmers Union say that Farming is set to deliver one quarter of Britain’s green energy needs this decade, so it would seem logical to support farmers looking to take part in Mr Barker’s “decentralised power to the people energy revolution”
The problem is, the proof is missing from the pudding, we have just seen a substantial cut in the Feed in Tariff rate for what we call Farm Scale wind. For our purposes I mean wind turbines up to 15kW. These turbines largely serve the rural domestic, farm, school or small business based sector where a combination of the Feed-In Tariff and renewable energy supply bring affordable energy independence to thousands.
For hardworking farmers and others this is often less about what the Americans call “mailbox money”, than “Distributed Energy”: That is, electricity being generated where it is used. Most often this means one or two individual machines for people trying to reduce their energy costs and make a contribution against climate change. Typically, wind turbines for the farm use market are small enough (sub 25m) fit well within their environment and can seldom be seen from 400yds away so get through planning relatively quickly.
Farm Scale wind energy is still a great investment: The UK is one of the windiest countries in Europe. And domestic energy prices look set to rise and rise. And right across the sector manufacturers have been working to improve efficiency, lifespan and raise production levels of their turbines so that correctly, in time, Feed in Tariff support will be an increasingly smaller part of the equation.
Here at Gaia-Wind for example, we have introduced our “Self Raising Tower”, cutting costs of installation and maintenance. Similarly, in bringing our Single Phase option on line we have enabled a whole new population of tens of thousands of off-grid crofters, smallholders and others to engage in Mr Barker’s “power to the people energy revolution” with us.
So, as a sector, “we’re on it”. But the Big 60,000 is still in its infancy, and it still needs support through the Feed-in-Tariff. Since this mechanism was introduced in 2010, farm-scale wind has grown significantly. But like a crop, it needs nurturing. In April, all the good work achieved in the wind industry could wither on the vine, as the Government cuts back on the Feed-in-Tariff. It’s correct that as more farm-sized turbines are installed, support is scaled back, but cutting investment now will put British manufacturers out of business and make it harder for farmers and communities to generate their own electricity.
Action For Renewables is asking Greg Barker, to make his Big 60,000 happen. He’s called for a "new generation of energy entrepreneurs”, so they’re calling on him to review the upcoming Feed-In-Tariff reduction, before it puts British businesses and jobs at risk. Gaia-Wind is backing the campaign.
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Gaia-Wind 133-11kw turbine
- High energy yield
- Feed in tariff eligible
- Clean energy