The residents of the small town of Wadebridge, Cornwall, are aiming to become the first solar- and renewable-energy powered town in the UK. It has an ambitious short-term goal of generating 30% of its electricity from renewables by 2015, which is about a third of the town’s electricity supply. The town’s struggle is being shown on Youtube as a four part mini-series.
With the UK government pledging 50% emissions cut by 2025, new solar initiatives are popping up all through the country.The Wadebridge campaign to convert to renewable energy is being led by the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN), – a not-for-profit co-operative. The plan is to put thousands of panels on the roofs of local homes, schools and businesses, allowing them to use the clean electricity, and collect the feed-in tariff for their community fund.
WREN is starting installations with 100 homes, half of which will be buying the systems themselves, and half of which will be funded through a partnership between solar provider Solarcentury and Triodos Bank But the controversial proposals by the British government to limit the Feed-In-Tariff (payment for generating electricity) to small-scale projects are in danger of altering the town’s plans.
Stephen Frankel Founder of WREN said:“Now the feed-in tariff is here, we could turn that dream into a reality with the finance generated. However we do need to use as much space as possible to meet our needs, the Governments proposals to limit the feed-in tariff to 50kWp means we can’t go ahead with our larger projects which would bring much needed income into our community fund. The problem with PV arrays is not their size, but who receives the benefits. It makes no sense that the Government wants to pull the plug on communities that seek to generate meaningful amounts of energy.”
The first episode was uploaded to YouTube on May 20 and outlines the aims of the project and the difficulties involved in winning over some of Wadebridge’s residents. The next episode wll be made avaiulable in two week.
Watch the first episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZA43jMAlE4.