Low Carbon Hub

LowCarbonHubThere’s much you can’t see in this picture, the other half of Oxford Town Hall being one of them. Stretching back behind the lens are more wine and nibble laden tables, packed with people from 65 community groups around the county, including Kate, Katherine and yours truly from Sustainable Witney. Really an impressive turnout of people to celebrate the launch of The Low Carbon Hub.

Get yourself along to the website to see what it’s all about – The Big Idea with The People’s Power Station is quite inspirational. In the current climate of rug pulling it’s not going to be easy, but as the adage goes; if you want a job doing properly, don’t rely on an over privileged elite.

We had Solar PV installed on our roof last week. According to the government it’s going to suck the life out of a purely notional pot of money which will cripple the energy industry and cause my granny to freeze, but hasn’t and won’t put a dent in the profits of The Big Six.

Costs are falling faster than expected, which as I recall was the whole point behind the exercise – to promote development in solar technology and drive down cost hence making renewable solar energy cost effective – although not nearly as fast and as far as the cut in the Feed in Tariff it would seem. Meanwhile dirty oil from tar sands gets a tacit nod of approval.

It’s not quite over yet. Someone in DECC mixed up the implementation and consultation deadlines therefore making a mockery of the whole process. Friends of the Earth feel duty bound to take a claim against the drastic level of the cut to the courts. I guess ‘the taxpayer’ will be funding the defence of that, as well as a possible case against HMRC. Those taxpayers that donate to FoE and UK Uncut will be funding the claimants too, ensuring balanced economic growth in the legal sector if nothing else.

Despite all that, and George Monbiot’s total downer on solar PV, I’m quite upbeat about the panels. Well I would be, fortunate to have already been in the process of purchasing them when the cut was announced, the energy they produce will qualify for the full FiT. That aside though, as part of eco-renovating our home they are predicted to produce annually more electrical energy than we consumed last year. We’ve still got some kitchen cabinet lights to switch to LEDs, but essentially it’s job done when it comes to electricity chez nous.

Something else you can’t see in the picture is the optimism generated in the room by the enthusiasm of Barbara Hammond and her team. There was much discussion when mingling about the government’s current role in all things environmental, the kind of thing that makes yours truly mutter like Eeyore, but thankfully there are those that can see past the posturing and focus on the goal beyond. If you didn’t follow that link earlier, take a look now, and find out how communities across Oxfordshire, including ours, could replace half of Didcot Power Station.

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