As the pressure is on to be open and transparent about our investments and tax returns, I am coming clean that I decided to invest my modest NHS pension pot, not in an off shore unit trust, but in renewables, run by cooperatives. One of which is Four Winds Energy Coop.
If you don’t want to read any further I highly recommend the video on their website “how coal country can spark a clean energy revolution.”https://vimeo.com/121124286
I attended the Four winds energy coop AGM on the 19th March in Barnsley which included a site visit to their 500kw turbine on a disused colliery site at Shafton. The coop have two 500kw turbines up and running on old colliery sites. The Shafton turbine pictured here which started generating in July 2015, and the other one at Duckmarton, near Chesterfield, which started generating in December 2014.
The AGM itself was both inspiring and depressing. The accounts indicated the coop paid for the secretariat services of the parent energy renewable coop, Energy 4 All, which amounted to one part time job and salary. The directors received no fees, just modest travel expenses. (Rather different from any bank or building society!)The deeply depressing information was that the coop had plans for 6 further turbines all on disused colliery sites in Yorkshire, but these are no longer viable due to the governments changes in policy..viz:making planning permission much harder, massively reducing the FITs, and stopping tax incentives for investing in renewables.
I think this example of Four Winds coop shows what can be done, and at the same time exposes the total hypocrisy and deceit of our government. David Cameron signed the climate Change agreement in Paris last December to commit to massively reducing our fossil fuel emissions and build up our renewables, and also declares he wants to encourage local enterprise and initiatives. With policies that cramp initiatives such as the Four Winds coop what is going on? Can we hold him to account?
But above all I am filled with gratitude for those men and women who put their all into making these turbines whirr.
If anyone is interested to look into investment in community renewables I can recommend
Triados renewables, now called Thrive renewables. https://www.triodosrenewables.co.uk/en/home/
and Energy 4 All http://energy4all.co.uk/
11th April 2016