You may remember last summer the village of Balcombe was in the news rather a lot because of fracking. In actual fact there was controversy over whether Cuadrilla were really fracking at Balcombe but in any case the village became the poster child of the UK’s nascent anti-fracking movement.
The news agenda moves on but thanks to CAT I was made aware this week that Balcombe is going to aim for carbon neutrality. This is a great positive news story and one I’m only too happy to share since both this site and our book takes a dim view of fracking.
The idea is that the village will aim to generate around 10% of its needs through solar PV over the next few months. A cooperative has been set up and shares will be issued to all members of the public, although only local Balcombe residents will have voting shares. Panels will be put on both community buildings and private property. The returns of at least 5% pa will be paid to investors and used for other community benefit (such as insulation). This is exactly what Fintry and Gigha have done in Scotland. Both have used the money generated from wind to improve energy efficiency in hard to heat homes off the gas grid and fit micro-generation such as solar hot water.