Norfolk village could lead the way on renewable energy

A village could become a pioneer in renewable energy after being visited by representatives of a 'green' energy company.

Up to 20 villagers attended the renewable energy event at Old Buckenham Village Hall on Saturday to hear speaker Damian Baker, managing director of Blofield Heath-based RenEnergy, describe the range of renewable energy options open to them.

The meeting was arranged by Old Buckenham's Village Environment and Recycling Group (VERG) group to look at possible domestic renewable energy schemes, but also the feasibility of a community scheme based at the village hall or one of the schools.

During his visit, Mr Baker discussed the implications of using solar panels, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, biomass and wind turbines to generate renewable energy.

He also spoke about the government's Renewable Heat Incentive which will pay homeowners to cover the purchase price of renewable energy heating systems.

However, Mr Baker warned the government's payment for every kilowatt of electricity produced by solar panels was set to drop from 43p to 21p on December 12, but solar energy schemes installed before this date would still qualify for the 43p tariff. The original cut-off date was December 23, but the government has brought it forward.

Following the meeting, Breckland district councillor Adrian Joel, who represents Buckenham ward, said Old Buckenham village was outside the gas grid and therefore dependent on oil for its energy, which was becoming increasingly expensive.

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He said: 'We want to encourage people to have a greater knowledge of renewable energy and what the various options are. We want to have a one-to-one discussion because oil prices are expensive and we are looking at ways of reducing the cost of the energy we use.'

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