New research from Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-Operative has revealed that hundreds of millions of pounds of local money is wasted in Hampshire each year through our energy use.
The newly-formed co-operative that is campaigning for the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm to be community owned has found that vast sums of money are spent on energy in our districts each year. The research covered the districts of Basingstoke & Deane, Test Valley and Winchester and shows we spend over £1,150m annually in these three areas alone.
Martin Heath, Spokesperson from Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative, comments: “Households and companies in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester spend over £1bn a year on energy. This is a huge drain on the local economy. Almost all this money is lost to the local economy.”
The research based on figures from Department of Energy and Climate Change show just how much local companies and people spend on meeting our energy needs each year on heating, electricity and transport. Unfortunately almost all this money is paid to the big energy companies who have very small presence in the local area. With declining production in the North Sea now over 44% of our energy is ‘shipped in’ from outside the UK. Most of our electricity is generated in Midlands, South Wales and further North.
As Martin says “This means much of the money we pay for energy each year ends up in the pockets of European gas oligarchs, middle eastern oil sheiks and shareholders in France, Germany or Spain or supporting global banks. A lot of the rest is tax.”
Martin says “This is a great shame as in North Hampshire we are blessed with huge resources from the sun and the wind. We have even bigger tidal, wind and wave resources off our southern coast. With some sensible investment we could, in Hampshire, easily generate 20% of our energy needs from local, freely available, renewable resources. This would save us millions of pounds a year”.
This would have a massive impact on local jobs, make our local industry more competitive, provide a much needed boost to our economy and ensure the profits are kept for local people.
Martin adds “Over time we could generate more than 50% of our energy needs from local renewables. It’s about time that our local councils put policies in place to encourage this and we, as individuals and companies started investing in locally owned renewable generation. We have a choice either we can continue to spend billions on imported energy that destroys our environment or we can generate our own energy local from community owned infrastructure. This is what the Co-op is trying to do”.
You can find out how to join the Co-op at www.hampshire-energy.coop.
Basingstoke & Deane
Official government figures show that in Basingstoke and Deane, about £453million is spent annually by homes and businesses on their energy usage.
£45.8m is spent on heating bills in homes, with over £45m used annually for power consumption. Basingstoke uses over £199million in fuel each year. Commercially, businesses use heating worth £19.5m, with £56m being spent on power generation and £86m on transport costs.
Homes and businesses in Winchester spend a total of about £324 million on energy each year.
Residents in Winchester spend over £33m on heating their homes, a further £33m on electricity and over £175m is spent annually on fuel. Businesses spent £11m last year on their heating, consumed electricity worth over £42m and used over £76m in fuel.
Test Valley businesses and domestic customers spent about £370 million on their energy each year.
Residents spent £32m on their heating bills, used power worth £34m and spent £147m a year on fuel. Commercially, over £13m was spent on heating businesses and industry, £32m on power and £63m was spent on transport.
The figures have been compiled from the 2012 Department for Energy and Climate Change report, “Average Annual Domestic Electricity Bills” and “Average Annual Domestic Gas Bills”, with commercial costs taken from the quarterly DECC report “Price of fuels purchased by non-domestic customers.”
How to keep money in Hampshire and benefit the local communities
Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-Operative is in negotiation with EDF Energy Renewables, the company that is proposing the wind farm scheme at Bullington Cross. The Co-op wants to take a 10% ownership stake in the project. This will allow the co-operative to sell shares to local people who will receive an annual return.
Martin Heath comments: “Laying aside the environmental benefits that the Bullington Cross Wind Farm would bring, local community ownership allows us to keep some of profits in the local economy, benefiting the community here in North and Mid Hampshire. All forms of energy generation have costs and benefits, and this is one way in which we can keep the benefits within Hampshire.”
“Our Co-op will allow local people to buy a share in the wind farm, as well as creating a community surplus which will be used to fund local energy projects. We see this money being used for example to add free solar panels to local schools, insulation for scout huts and to educate the future generation about energy consumption and climate change.”
To find out more information about the scheme, register your interest in becoming a member of the co-operative and to show your support for the Bullington Cross Wind Farm, please use this website.
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