Green energy feels the heat as subsidies go to fossil fuels.
The Guardian - 23 June 2018
Community projects can slash household bills but the sector has ground to a halt in Britain – in contrast with schemes in Europe.
The number of people generating their own power has almost flatlined, with only one new group formed in the UK last year, according to the body representing grassroots energy organisations. Cuts to subsidies for homeowners to install solar panels and a “hostile planning approach” that has in effect banned new wind turbines are behind the “wholesale decline”, Community Energy England (CEE) said in its 2018 State of the Sector report.
Grassroots schemes can slash electricity bills in half at a time when the “big six” energy companies have raised their prices. But setting up a project is risky, with the cost of installing solar panels or constructing turbines paid up-front, and nearly 30% of community energy groups saw some of their schemes fail last year, the report said.
Subsidies can hedge the risks, but in 2015 the government cut them for green energy, including the “feed-in tariff” households get for supplying excess energy back to the national grid, capping the total at £100m by 2019. Fossil fuel subsidies are more than 30 times higher – companies running oil or coal-fired power stations received more than £3bn last year through the capacity market, funded partly by household fuel bills.
“Other countries have recognised that community-owned renewable energy delivers greater economic, social and environmental benefits and will reap the rewards as a result. The UK, on the other hand, will miss the opportunity.”
In Stockholm a new development of 10,000 homes will be heated by computer servers in a data centre operated by DigiPlex, according to Fredrik Jansson, its Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer. “When my five-year-old daughter does stuff on her iPad, a process starts in the data centre, heat comes up from the servers,” Jansson said. “It’s captured and put out into the central heating system, so when she’s sitting on her bed, looking out on to a snowy Stockholm landscape, the data is heating the radiator.”
Read the complete Guardian online article here. More details about our Stockholm Heat Reuse scheme here.