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This space is intended as a register for North Cornwall-wide organisations that wish to support the Transition Movement or that may be useful to Transition Groups.

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WREN Newsletter - October 2015

Government Changes to Renewable Energy
The government has made a number of changes to the way it supports renewable energy, in a way, shall we say, not entirely favourable to the renewables sector.

This will change the way that the sector has to think about renewable energy – it is not just a matter of making solar panels and turbines cheaper. Local arrangements for electricity generation that WREN has been pioneering, coupled with electricity storage and smart technology for demand management (which WREN is seriously looking into) will transform the energy sector. We are now positioning ourselves to benefit in this transformed future.

The government has removed all subsidy for on-shore wind power over 1,500 kW and in a “consultation document” proposes reducing feed in tariffs (FiTs) by nearly 60% for smaller installations. It has required that local authority planners only give permission to a proposed development if local communities support it. This contrasts nicely with its position on fracking, which is that local opinion counts for nothing.

The consultation document slashes FiTs on solar PV by up to 87%, depending on the size of installation. The government’s response to a formal petition, which has reached nearly 23,000 signatures, indicates no change in their position. The cuts will be introduced in January,

Among other things, this means that WREN is no longer able to offer zero cost solar PV systems. Third party installations will no longer be economically viable.

The government has ended funding for the Green Deal, which was intended to improve energy efficiency in existing homes, and not replaced it. It has removed the requirement for new-built homes to be more energy efficient, which was barely months away from implementation after years getting ready for it.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change website explains how the government is committed to combatting climate change whilst fast-tracking shale gas (fracking) planning applications, and slashing subsidy for renewable energy whilst massively subsidising the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
Act Now for Domestic Solar PV
If you’ve been thinking you might like solar panels on your roof, you’d better get a move on.

The changes to solar PV FiTs discussed above happen from January and mean that if you put a 4kW array on your roof, the FiT will be about £65 a year compared with about £500 currently (though you will still get free electricity from the panels and the export tariff).

There is still time to get the higher tariff. Contact WREN to be put in touch with our preferred suppliers of solar panels. Telephone 01208 812992 or call in at the Energy Shop.

Nanstallon Solar Array
Wadebridge Energy Company’s new 100 kW array, which powers South West Water’s Nanstallon sewage treatment works, was formally opened on 8th September in brilliant sunshine (very aptly) by County Councillor Julian German and a gathering of representatives from WREN, South West Water and the organisations involved in developing or financing the installation.

Read the full story on our website.

The array was partly funded by a £2,000 grant from the Naturesave Trust. WREN is very pleased to have this recognition from the Trust, which was set up in 1995 to fund specific environmental, conservation and community energy projects throughout the UK. More information about the Naturesave Trust can be found here.

Annual General Meeting
The AGM was held on Tuesday 29th September in Wadebridge Town Hall, with over 60 members attending.

The first part of the meeting saw the presentation to beneficiaries of the Middle Treworder Community Fund (see below).

Chair Stephen Frankel’s report on the achievements of WREN began with the most significant – the “best overall float” prize in the 2015 Wadebridge Carnival. He also mentioned the Nanstallon solar array (see above). WREN is closing in on a project to provide cheaper electricity to Wadebridge residents, working with Western Power Distribution and an electricity supplier. We are exploring possibilities for community development and ownership of a wind farm at Scotland Corner, working with local town and parish councils.

WREN has been instrumental in developing an Outline Funding Application to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for a £10m project called Smart Market Town. The application was submitted on 25th September and addresses the ERDF priority of “Supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy in all sectors.”

These all address the need to find ways for young people to stay in or come to Wadebridge, with higher income jobs and affordable homes with low energy costs.

Four directors formally resigned (as required by our rules) and were re-elected: Amanda Pennington, Caroline New, Peter McGregor and Tony Faragher. One new director was elected, Bill Box, who for some months has been our Head of Smart Systems.

This new appointment came about as a result of a resignation. Adrian Jones, one of the founder directors of WREN, stepped down due to other commitments. Adrian is chair of the local Chamber of Commerce, a town councillor and one of the organisers of the Cornwall Folk Festival, among other things.

He was warmly thanked by the Chair, and indeed the whole meeting, for all that he has done for WREN. Thank you again, Adrian.
Treworder Community Fund Awards
Fifteen local community groups were awarded a total of £20,000 by the Middle Treworder Community Fund. Awards ranged from £250 to £8,000. Groups applied in total for some £47,000 and the main beneficiaries will be the children and young people of the area.

See the list of recipients on our website here.
BikeLights 2015 - Circles and Cycles
Generously supported by the Middle Treworder Community Fund, BikeLights is an illuminated bicycle parade for all the family through the streets of Wadebridge. This year’s theme is Circles and Cycles.

Saturday, 17th October starting at 6:45 p.m.

Everyone is invited to be part of this community get together. Decorate your bike with lights and ride the route along with family and friends. Herald the parade as it circles through town at dusk. Light up your garden or window to add to the special evening atmosphere.

The parade starts and ends at the BikeLights site (Piggy Lane car park behind the Fire Station) and culminates in a spectacular choreographed bike performance accompanied by an orchestra made from bits of bike. Then stay on site for a public celebration event-come-party with live music, refreshments, street food and a children’s cinema tent.