Helping create resilient town

IT’S a bit galling to have worked our unpaid proverbials off for months to launch the Ovesco solar power scheme so successfully and then have to read a letter by Brian Beck trying to trash the whole thing.

Well I suppose it takes all sorts. I just wonder whether he knows anything about the kind of future we are facing over the next twenty years with the perfect storm of economy, energy and environment looming on the horizon. No time to go into all that here of course but I invite Brian to take on some basic information and if he wants to pop round I’ll go through everything in as much detail as he likes.

To take the points in his letter:

1. Ovesco Ltd IPS is non-profit and community owned, that’s to say it’s owned by those of the community who have invested so far.

2. Investment in Ovesco is not an interest-free loan, I can’t see how he works that out! Investors are paid 4% pa. One third of the FiT income goes on interest payments, one third goes to managing the company and setting up future schemes, and one third goes to paying off the capital.

3. The government feed-in tariff (FiT) is paid for by a slight increase in electricity bills in the short term. In the long term an increase in the amount of renewable energy generation will lead to a reduction in electricity bills as is already happening in Spain, Denmark and Germany. But if Brian objects to this he should surely object far more to the billions paid by government in subsidies to the nuclear industry and the banks, all of which goes on our tax bill.

4. Renewable generation could in theory provide all Britain’s energy needs, particularly tidal which is round the clock.

5. Renewable generation is only partly about reducing CO2 emissions.

Mostly it’s about energy security. As fossil fuel prices surge in coming years due to depletion of reserves and fast-rising demand from emerging economies, we will be grateful for all the renewable generation we have and wish we had invested in more.

I would be quite interested to know what kind of future Brian wants to see in Lewes. In view of what we’re likely to face in the future I’m doing my best to help create resilience for Lewes. This is a Transition Town objective and includes localisation, affordable housing and workspace, sustainable food and energy supplies, energy efficiency, clean air and better banking. And yes, substantially reduced CO2 emissions. We only have one planet to live on, there are no spares.

Dirk Campbell

Lewes