Quantcast
Fracking

'Fracking Village' Gets Green Light to Go 100% Solar

The UK’s clean energy sector got a boost yesterday, as Repower Balcombe, the local energy cooperative born of the 2013 fracking protests, was given the go ahead with its proposed 5 megawatt (MW) solar park in West Sussex.

The developers are rushing to install the solar farm before March 31 next year. Photo credit: Kristian Buus, 10:10

The group has already installed more than 100 solar panels on its village schools and nearly 70 more on a local farm, but today’s planning committee is a significant step for the project.

With more than 18,500 panels, it would surpass the co-op’s aim of powering every home in Balcombe with renewables and supply the nearby village of West Hoathly with its surplus clean energy.

Thomas Parker, technical director at Repower Balcombe said:

"This is great news. We’re ecstatic. Now it’s time to get to work start raising finance and start building our community solar farm. It’s really happening. The fracking village is going solar."

"The public support has really been wonderful. It is happening right on their doorstep and yet public support for this project is even higher than the national average support for renewables and that’s already pretty high. It’s exactly the opposite of the NIMBY ("not in my back yard") culture. The people came along to the public consultation event and said yes."

The developers are rushing to install the solar farm before March 31 next year, the deadline for when the government is planning to stop solar farms with 5MW of capacity or less from accessing the Renewable Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme.

For other hoping to follow in Balcombe’s footsteps the UK’s renewable energy landscape is looking increasingly challenging, with impending subsidy cuts expected to hit all forms of clean energy generation.

In that context, yesterday’s vote has been described as a “defining moment” for the community which rejected a government imposed dirty energy future for one made up of clean, home-grown alternatives.

And while the future for such projects is foggy, one thing is clear communities are ready to take their power into their own hands and they’re going renewable.

Millie Darling, Campaign Manager, 10:10 said:

"When people can choose their energy future they choose renewables, not fracking. Soon Repower Balcombe will be asking the nation to invest in this project and people across the country will have the opportunity to get involved in this positive vision for our energy future."

There are now more than 5,000 community energy groups in the UK, more than 600,000 homes are now fitted with solar panels and around 60MW of community-owned renewable electricity capacity is currently in operation.

By failing to support those projects, like Balcombe, that are leading the way towards a renewable future, the UK government is wildly at odds with its public with new polling show over three-quarters of citizens are in favor of renewables.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Iceland: World’s Largest Clean Energy Producer Per Capita

How to Finance the Global Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy

Harvard Researchers Hail Cost-Effective Battery That Could Store Surplus Wind and Solar Power

7 Signs Renewable Energy Is Here to Stay

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Animation showing percent of acres burning worldwide. NASA / GSFC / SVS

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas

By Sharon Kelly

Over the past few years, natural gas has become the primary fuel that America uses to generate electricity, displacing the long-time king of fossil fuels, coal. In 2019, more than a third of America's electrical supply will come from natural gas, with coal falling to a second-ranked 28 percent, the Energy Information Administration predicted this month, marking the growing ascendency of gas in the American power market.

Keep reading... Show less
Pexels

Forest Gardening With Space for Wild Elephants

By Michael B. Commons

In my collaboration with Terra Genesis International, I have been given space and support to investigate what we may call "Regenerative Pathways," looking at real life examples of functional farming systems that we can identify as being on the "Regenerative Agriculture Pathway."

While these farms/farming systems might be called "Regenerative Farms," we see regeneration more as a long term process and continuum that we can evaluate through indicators such as soil health, water retention, biodiversity, community health and more.

Keep reading... Show less
Slava Bowman / Unsplash

How Can We Help Put a Human Face on Climate Change?

By John R. Platt

Communicating the truths about climate change isn't always easy. Sometimes the effects of climate change seem to hover in the future, or are occurring most visibly in other parts of the world. Other times they're subtle—at least for now. And of course, there are some people who just don't want to hear anything about it.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Aerial view of Yaguas River and the Cachimbo tributary. Alvaro del Campo, Field Museum

Peru's Newest National Park Safeguards 2 Million Acres of Amazon Rainforest

The Peruvian government announced it will establish a new and enormous national park in the Amazon.

Yaguas National Park, located in the northern region of Loreto, consists of 2,147,166 acres of rainforest, a vast river system and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, 500 species of birds and 160 species of mammals, including giant otters, woolly monkeys, Amazonian river dolphins and manatees. The park also features 550 fish species—one of the richest fish faunas in the world.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Molteno Dam Reservoir in Cape Town. Wikimedia Commons

Will Cape Town Become the First Major City to Run Out of Water?

Cape Town is on track to become the first major city in the world to run out of water.

The world-renowned tourist destination—and the second-most populous urban area in South Africa after Johannesburg—could approach "Day Zero," when most taps run dry, by April 21, Mayor Patricia de Lille said Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
The mountains of Haiti. PO2 Daniel Barker / DVIDS

Haiti’s Most Popular Ecotourism Destinations

The tropical Caribbean island of Haiti is a paradise with a rich, fascinating history, natural wonders and diverse cultural offerings. It has also been named by some as the next big thing in regional tourism.

But ecotourism in particular could become important for Haiti, with its rich land and sea biodiversity. Globally, the business of ecotourism generates more than $600 billion a year and is connected to hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics
iStock

Nearly All Coastal Governors Denounce Plan to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

Politicians from coastal states around the country continue to call for their states to be exempt from the Trump administration's proposed expansion of offshore drilling following its politically-tinged decision last week to remove Florida from the plan.

The Interior Department said last week that Secretary Ryan Zinke had spoken with seven coastal governors opposed to drilling, including the governors of North and South Carolina, Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's office told press Zinke would consider removing the state from the plan following their call, while California Gov. Jerry Brown's office reports that Zinke promised to travel to the state to further discuss the offshore leases.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Rob Hainer / IStock

In Alabama, a Cleanup Unearths Toxins—and Scandal

By Matt Smith

Lot by lot, backhoes and dump trucks are scraping and hauling away yards on the north side of Birmingham to remove soil laced with heavy metals and other industrial wastes—the legacy of this city's years as a steelmaking power.

Federal prosecutors say that effort also uncovered something else: a scheme to save polluters millions by putting the neighborhood's representative in Montgomery on their payroll.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!