Energy blog

Blog for posts that are specifically about the Energy Group activities
Published by geoffbrickell on 03 November 2011

What started last week as rumour and mistaken early announcements, is now official with a press notice issued by DECC on 31st October that the Feed In Tariff for Solar PV is being significantly reduced.

The DECC announcement which you can read here says it is a Phase 1 review with a consultation that will go on until 23 December - but it is pretty clear that the new regime has been decided, with a reduction in the 4kW or less FIT from £0.433/kWh to just £0.21. The biggest shock however is that under the proposals, the new tariffs would apply to all new Solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 12 December 2011.

This means that anyone who has not fully installed Solar PV by 11th December will now have a significantly longer pay-back period.

The reduction in tariff - as reported in an earlier blog post - was expected by everyone to be effective from next April, although I did suggest that there was a "small risk that an emergency reduction could be implemented sooner ". However I don't think anyone expected the reduction to be so large, i.e. greater than 50%, and to be introduced so quickly.

We will have to wait to see if the consultation does modify any of the new arrangements and we will post updates here as the situation becomes clearer.

Published by geoffbrickell on 12 October 2011

Bath & West Community Energy Adam Walton from Transition Community Corsham will be giving a talk, organised by Marlborough Climate Pledge, on setting up a Community Energy Company, at the Wesley Hall, Oxford St., Marlborough at 8pm on Thursday 24th November.

Members of two transition groups, Transition Community Corsham and Transition Bath have set up a local community-owned renewable energy company.  This company is called ‘Bath and West Community Energy’ (BWCE). 

BWCE is a community enterprise, set up as a co-operative, which is installing and operating solar energy installations in Bath and the surrounding area.  BWCE is in the process of installing 400kW of solar capacity and has plans to do a lot more over the coming few years. 

To support the growth of the company, BWCE has launched a share offer giving local people the chance to own and benefit from a share in the company.  Supporting BWCE in this way should provide a good return on investment while increasing the use of renewable energy in their local community and promoting local community enterprise in the Bath and Corsham areas.

Could a similar community based company be formed in the Marlborough area? Click here for more details.

Published by geoffbrickell on 12 October 2011

Smart Grids The construction of a nationwide smart electricity system, known as a "Smart Grid" has recently been emphasised as a major policy and implementation priority in order for the UK to meet its stated aims of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

It has been shown that a diversified generation system, with a high proportion of offshore wind and nuclear, will be the most economical way to ensure that 32-40% of our electricity will be generated from low-carbon sources by 2020 - which is required to meet our EU carbon reduction committments.

In addition the Climate Change Act of 2008, that commits us to the 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, means that we will need an almost complete decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2030, as well as much greater electrification of heat and transport.


Today's electricity transmission and distribution network however was built to utilise the output of conventional, fossil-fuel generation. It was designed to accomodate the full output of major electricity generators simultaneously and as a result, electricity transmission and distribution networks are designed for the unidirectional flow of electricity from large generators to centres of demand.

A Smart Grid is however required to manage the intermittent nature of supply from renewable sources such as wind and solar - and 'smart' usage management will also be required to avoid unnecessary peaks in demand.

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the Energy Generation & Supply Knowledge Transfer Network have just released a new report which provides an up-to-date snap shot of smart grid development in the UK. Read more here and download their report here.

Published by geoffbrickell on 29 September 2011

Image Community Energy Companies are springing up all over the country as a means for a community as a whole to invest in Renewable Energy schemes for their area.

These community based organisations raise capital by offering shares and gain revenues from the Energy schemes they develop. However they are run as a social or a co-operative enterprise funding other community projects from their revenues after costs are covered and a reasonable dividend is provided back to share holders.


Click here to learn more about how these schemes work and how we as a community might form such a company.

As part of the research to assess whether a Marlborough area based scheme is feasible there is also an on-line Expression of Interest form here. Please use this form if you could be interested in such a scheme and pass the word on to your friends, neighbours and family!

Published by geoffbrickell on 20 September 2011

If you are not already aware the Feed In Tariffs for the scheme introduced by the Government in April 2010 are being reviewed and are almost certain to be reduced in April 2012 - and there is a small risk that an emergency reduction could be implemented sooner since the take-up rate has been high.

The reason for the likely change is that the costs of installing these systems has steadily come down, so it is only fair for the subsidy to also be reduced in line.

So if, for example, you have been thinking about installing a Solar PV system on your roof, you need to act swiftly since it must be installed before April 2012 to qualify for the existing rates - and these are then guaranteed on a tax-free, inflation adjusted basis for 25 years.

The DECC web page on FiTs is here, and the video below provides a usage example if you are not familiar with how this subsidy scheme works.

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