Could Government re-think on commercial tariffs really jeopardise Cornwall’s £1 Billion investment?

Business Cornwall reported last week on how the Cornish Council has officially expressed its concern over proposed cuts by the Government to solar feed-in tariffs for large scale schemes.

The Council took the opportunity to highlight the many positive effects on the local economy, not to mention the reductions in carbon, that such large scale plants could bring.

In total, Cornwall Council reckons it could loose out by over £1 billion in technology investment as a result of the tariff reductions for schemes over 50Kw.

Read the full report on Business Cornwall by clicking here.

photo credit: benjamin v steen

Cornish Farmers are not happy bunnies

A report in the Guardian last week claims that the Government is about to make a major u-turn on solar feed-in tariffs for anything larger than a typical domestic installation.

Farmers, community groups and investors as well as the solar industry itself have reacted strongly to the news with some claiming they’ve been ‘stuffed’.

The problem seems to have come from so called ‘Brown sites’ springing up, particularly in the South-West with investors moving in, developing large scale solar farms and getting an excellent return on their investment due to the feed-in tariffs paid.

The Government, worried that large scale installations would cause the allocated ‘money pot’ for tariff payments to run down to quickly have acted by announcing a review of tariffs paid to installations over a certain size.

Ministers maintain that the tariffs were only ever to encourage homeowners to make their homes more carbon neutral, and encourage installations by giving homeowners the opportunity to recoup their savings or pay back loans on monies invested in fitting the panels.

The UK’s housing stock, at present, is a major concern for the Government in reaching it’s carbon reduction targets, given the general age and condition of much of the current housing.

The Guardian believes the cap will be on installations over 50kW capacity – enough to cover more than 15 domestic roofs, which means even barn roof installations could be in jeopardy.

photo credit: gareth rogers

Go ahead for Cornish Solar Farm

The first of a new generation of solar farms to be built in Cornwall has been given the go-ahead.

The ground-mounted solar farm will generate power for South West Water as well as powering a water treatment works.

The site is being hailed as an example of the type of development made possible with the Governments feed-in tariff system for renewable energy.

Read the full report at Newnet by clicking here.

photo credit: annie mole

Cornish Leisure Centre makes huge savings with replacement boilers


It was good to read at Eco Showcase that a large community leisure centre in Cornwall will save thousands each year after replacing heating boilers dating back to the 1970’s with new condensing fast recovery water heaters.

One system will provide hot water for the showers and other hot water usage whilst the second system will heat the swimming pool itself.

The Centre reckon, based on usage to date, that the new systems will save them in the region of £8000 on their Winter fuel bills and £4000 in the Summer.

Not a renewable energy solution but certainly a step in the right direction towards energy conservation.

Well done!

Like to read the full article? Visit Eco Showcase – click here.

Of course, a solar panel installation is a great way of providing free energy for heating your own swimming pool or hot tub. Visit Solar Panel Quoter now to get your own online quote in minutes.

photo credit: seattle municipal archives, circa 1925

Wind turbines ‘grow-up’ in Cornwall


10 wind turbines making up the UK’s first commercial wind farm are to be replaced with just 4 new ones, which are twice the height of their predecessors, and will measure a neck aching 325ft high to the tip of the blade.

The 9.2MW capacity will be enough to supply nearly 8000 homes.

The farm was first built in 1991.

Read the full article by clicking here.

photo credit: rikie rizza

UK Geothermal plant plans outlined for Cornwall.


News from New Energy Focus reached us that plans are afoot in Cornwall to develop the UK’s first commercial scale geothermal power plant near Redruth…

“Geothermal Engineering Ltd – a privately-owned British company specialising in the proving and development of geothermal resources – outlined plans for the project near Redruth in Cornwall last week (October 12) and, subject to planning permission, the start date for drilling will be mid 2010, with the plant set to be commercially operational by 2013.

These plans came after the Eden Project spoke in June at the House of Lords of hopes to build a geothermal plant that would generate 3MW of power and “several” megawatts of heat energy”.

The plans would involve drilling a 5km deep well where temperatures are expected to reach 170 degrees C. Water is pumped via a series of pipes down the well and across the hot rocks which heat the water, the resulting hot water or steam is then pumped back to the surface via the same well, where it is used to power turbines that can generate electricity as well as being a source of renewable heat.

Previous research has shown Cornwall has a suitable heat resource, which is trapped in the underground granite rock.

The plans make interesting reading and the expected electricity generation capability for the South-West of England is impressive. Please click here to read the full article, which includes a useful diagram of how the geothermal plant will work – good resource for those school homework projects!

photo credit: wolfiewolf

Cornwall Council approve wind turbine development in Davidstowe Woods


The BBC website reports that a Cornish planning application for 20 wind turbines to be built in Davidstowe Woods has been approved.

The turbines, standing 410ft high (over two-and-a-half times the height of Nelson’s Column) will create 7 new jobs. Construction starts next year.

The approval comes amidst local objections from those concerned about damaging the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whilst the company behind the development said the approval was “fantastic news”.

Read the full story on the BBC website by clicking here.

photo credit: pondspider