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Jacobstow Parish Plan

For proposals and discussion of the Jacobstow Parish Plan.

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PaulS's picture

Jacobstow Energy Scheme

Here is another idea for discussion and inclusion in the questionnaire: Community Energy Scheme

Purpose:
the main purpose of a community energy scheme is to provide income to each community member which pays for all or part of their electricity or other energy bills now and in the future. It can be designed in such a way that the income from the scheme rises at the same rate as future electricity prices, regardless how quickly or how high they rise. In other words, each participant is protected from future energy price increases - for the lifespan of the Scheme, which would normally be at least 25 years.

Isn't that wonderful - your electricity bills paid for 25 years?

How it works:
As an example, take a small community owned wind farm.

Free shares: Every adult living in the Parish gets a one FREE share in the scheme for each wind turbine. In addition, if you are directly affected (e.g. can see the wind turbine from your property), you get an additional share for each wind turbine you can see as compensation. Further, the land owner on whose property the installation is located, gets further 2 shares for each wind turbine on their land.

Member shares: Further tranche of shares would be offered for purchase by Jacobstow residents at reduced prices.

Ordinary shares: Further tranche of shares could be offered at full price to other investors.

It is possible, that the scheme could be fully funded by grants available specifically for community energy schemes, in which case no additional shares would need to be sold. However, it is more likely that available grants would fund only proportion of the costs, in which case Member shares would be issued and offered to residents of Jacobstow. Buying such additional shares is strictly voluntary.

If that still did not raise enough capital for the complete scheme, then Ordinary shares would need to be issued and sold to external investors.

In effect we would be setting up a small electricity generating company - which we would all own and which would pay our electricity costs now and in the future.

You might think that would cost awful lot of money ...

But bear in mind that

a) much of the money necessary to buy, install and set up the wind turbines would come from grants available just for such purposes.

b) we will all pay lots of money for electricity from the normal suppliers anyway, so why not use some of the money we would have to pay out anyway to set up the scheme and get our electricity paid at least partly by the scheme?

The average cost of electricity in the UK is about £500/year per adult. That implies that Jacobstow parishioners pay in total some (500*400) £200,000 each year to electricity suppliers!

If we obtained grants worth as much again, the resulting budget of £400,000 could buy about 400kW worth of wind turbines, which would produce approx 1.5GW of energy per year.

That energy is worth some £150,000 on the wholesale market. In addition, the scheme would earn 1500 ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates) worth £38 each, i.e. £57,000.
Thus the scheme income would be in the region of £207,000.

Divide that by the assumed number of participant (400) and we get an income each of over £500 - just about as much as we all need to pay our electricity bills!

These calculations are shown here simply as a rough and ready illustration that, in principle, such a scheme is possible, that it is capable of paying at least some of our electricity bills for many years and thus completely insulate us from future energy increases.

Obviously, if there is sufficient support for such a scheme within Jacobstow, we would need to set up a group of people to work out the full details of the scheme and present such final plan for approval to the scheme members.

We have seen quite substantial increases in the price of energy in the course 2007 and 2008. This trend has partially reversed due to the recession. But it is clear that as soon as any signs of recovery occur, the price of oil and with it the price of all energy, will sky rocket once again.

Whilst today's prices may be affordable, will you still find them affordable when they double to £1000/person/year? or quadruple to £2000/person/year? If we have our own community energy scheme, we will be in much better position in the coming years.

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