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Cameron hails move to renewable energy
Buy this photo » Stephen Yeo, Helena Nielsen, Lucy Dickinson with son Theo, three, and Georgina Matthews outside Eynsham village hall
THE first stage of an ambitious plan to replace the Didcot A plant with renewable alternatives has been launched by Prime Minister David Cameron .
The Witney MP backed proposals for a “loose collective” of renewable installations and energy-reduction initiatives to replace the Didcot A power station, which currently supplies around half of Oxfordshire’s electricity.
The Prime Minister made the comments as he opened a 12.65kW solar PV installation, seen as the first phase of the proposed scheme, on the roof of Eynsham village hall on Friday.
He said: “We’ve got to stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere if we care about climate change, and solar power can help us do that.”
Coal-fired Didcot A is due to close next March because it does not meet European Commission carbon emission standards.
The closure of the 2,000mW plant, which generates 1,400 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, will leave a huge gap in capacity.
It would take more than 13,000 years for the village hall to generate as much electricity as Didcot A does in a year, but other projects are on the cards.
A green group known as the Low Carbon Hub says it could be replaced by a “people’s power station”.
Hub director Barbara Hammond said: “Our vision is to mobilise everyone in Oxfordshire to ‘power down’ and reduce energy demand and ‘power up’ by increasing renewable energy generation to replace Didcot A.
“In real terms this means ‘powering down’ by around 750 million kWh a year and ‘powering up’ by producing 250 million kWh of electricity from households and communities, and 500 million kWh from businesses.
“We know from the work we’ve done with Oxford University that we have enough renewable energy resource in the county to meet these requirements as long as we hit national carbon reduction targets in 2020.”
The Eynsham village hall solar scheme was financed by the GreenTEA group with support from Low Carbon Hub.
Dr Chris Jardine, of Joju Solar which installed the Eynsham panels, said: “Community solar projects have proliferated in recent years but the scale that Low Carbon Hub is operating on is different.
“They plan to replicate this kind of project again and again across Oxfordshire until it replaces Didcot power station. This is just the beginning.”