Power to the people
Reporter: KAREN DOHERTY
Date published: 18 February 2010
Green revolution could put wind turbines on homes
A POWERHOUSE of the industrial revolution is on the brink of £20 million green revolution to cut energy bills.
Hundreds of council and housing association homes in Oldham, Stockport, Bury and Rochdale are set to get wind turbines and solar panels as part of a new energy co-operative scheme.
This could generate 250 megawatts of electricity per year — equivalent to one quarter of the output of a coal-fired power station — and save two million tonnes of carbon.
The energy would be pooled, with some distributed locally and some sold on to the National Grid to fund local energy improvements.
The Manchester microgrid could make £20 million per year and lower energy prices will be available to the poorest residents who are struggling to pay their bills.
Plans are being drawn up by the Horizon Energy Co-operative which is made up of social and council housing bosses and landlords. It also includes the Manchester-based energy services company EIC Partnership.
Managing director Andrew Melchior said: “With a recent report from OFGEM predicting energy shortages and steep price rises that could leave many people unable to pay their bills, there is clearly a pressing need for creative thinking in the field of energy generation.
“We think the microgrid generation model has a major contribution to make, revolutionising energy production here in the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.”
“The Horizon Co-operative will be economically, environmentally and socially beneficial, generating revenue, cutting carbon emissions and promoting social inclusion.
“Our energy will be used to drive down the costs of electricity and hot water for those in need of relief from fuel poverty, while also supplying community-generated green energy to householders in the North-West of England.”
Horizon is looking for organisations to invest in the scheme which it hopes to roll it out nationally after the three-year-pilot.
Mr Melchior added: “With sufficient support, there is no reason we shouldn’t end up producing energy output equivalent to one quarter of a conventional nuclear or coal-fired power station.
“There is no more pressing need than to reduce the amount of oil, coal and gas that is consumed globally.
“Whether you are a believer or sceptic on the issue of global warming, our dependence as a species on finite fossil fuels for over 86 per cent of our energy generation is unsustainable.”