Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Should the Council have more powers over green energy?

The Council says that the national grid within Cornwall is now at capacity. Therefore, if there are to be more renewable energy measures (wind and solar parks, geothermal and marine) there needs to be investment in the grid.

The Local Enterprise Partnership  (LEP) plans to spend more than £100m ( out of £600m ) of Cornwall's EU monies upgrading the grid. The Council wants to form a partnership to take the decisions on how this money should be spent.

This may lead to more large scale wind/solar, although the recent changes in Government's  subsidy regime make this less likely. Perhaps the subsidy changes mean that the LEP should review this £100m investment in any event.

But the Council keeps all the business rates from renewable energy projects so it is keen on this income generating initiative.

The Council also wants Government money to explore geothermal power. As £11.5m is already provisionally allocated for that from Cornwall's European funds it may be argued that more public money for this is not a top priority.

Finally, the Council wants another chance to run a project of subsidised measures to insulate people's homes. As only £5m out of £100m was spent of a similar Council project with British Gas, it is hard not to be concerned as to whether this new project would be a success. An alternative might be for any new scheme to be run by the voluntary sector.

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