A letter from John Leech MP

This is the first response to my enquiry about microgeneration grants, actually an email-

Dear Mr Pattinson,

Thank you for your email. I am happy to chase the issue up for you, but if you are interested in investing in renewable energy yourself, you may also like to refer to the grants section of the Energy Saving Trust’s website ( where you can find details of grants that you may be able to apply for to help with the cost of any such home improvements.

In the meantime, I will chase up you enquiry with the Rt Hon Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and I will be in touch again once I receive a reply.

In the meantime, however, please feel free to contact me if you think I can be of any further assistance on this or any other matter.

Yours sincerely,

John Leech

The link to the Energy Savings Trust is useful, a quick search took me to for renewables. It looks a lot like the last renewables grant scheme has been relaunched and I just missed it. Householders have until June 2010 to apply, so start working out what you need.

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A letter to my MP

Using the website I’ve sent an email to my local MP, John Leech-

Dear John Leech,

When the Government announced earlier this year that they wouild be investing several billion pounds in renewable energy there was a hint that there would be a new round of grants for home owners to buy solar panels and other energy saving/ generating technologies. However, I have not heard any more about these payments since.

Would it be possible for you to raise the issue with the relevant department or official and find more details of the proposed schemes? This may not seem like the appropriate time to be paying out such grants but I believe they would help stimulate the economy by giving money to an important sector of industry and saving homeowners money.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Pattinson

Hopefully the grants have started up and I just haven’t seen the announcement. If not then I’ll have to think of ways to get the issue raised more forcefully.

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Advice for Gordon- save the world by bribing the voters

I don’t have any particular interest in Gordon Brown staying on as Prime Minister, he’s possibly worse than Blair because he’s too much of a coward to actually do anything radical. If he were, however, to suddenly develop a spine and display some of the savvy he claims to have there are ways he could get re-elected, boost the economy and start taking big steps towards hitting carbon dioxide reduction targets.

All he has to do is bribe the electorate.

A small number of people choose to ignore the evidence on global warming and will shout about any environmental initiatives no matter that they often have benefits beyond the green. Let’s just ignore them. Others are determined to cut their footprint no matter what. These converts deserve rewarding, and will be as a bonus of what I’m suggesting. The largest number of people, across a range of scepticism to understanding, aren’t going green because of the initial expense. Also for many of them when Gordon says “Green” they hear the word “Tax”.

Give these people the money to go green.

The recent announcement of a £100billion green initiative by Brown did mention solar power and other grants. What’s needed is for these to be big enough to cover most of the cost of installing panels, insulation or whatever is needed, because at present the payback in reduced bills isn’t enough. Most people would be better off leaving their money in the bank and earning interest. It would also help the uptake if the rates to sell electricity back to the suppliers were better. Let’s say that power companies should write off one unit of power consumed for every unit generated- in summer or on a windy day the house could pay for the electricity it used when it was cloudy or still. After the bill balances then the microgenerator can still sell to the power company at, say, half the price per unit they were being charged.

As important as increasing the grants and improving buy back is selling them properly. Emphasis should be put on giving money back to the consumer and making them independent of big suppliers. Gordon’s too dull to do this well, so he’d have to hope he could find a minister who could do it for him. The Tories have already figured out that this is a good sell, with proposals for feeding landfill savings back to households that recycle more. Their ideas about modifying the tax on petrol are based on a similar idea but seem half baked at best.

Of course, per kilowatt generated and ton of CO2 saved an increase in the scope and size of grants for microgeneration will be far more expensive than offshore wind or any other scheme. But no-one ever seems to think about where this money will go. The workers who install photovoltaics, groundsource pipes etc. will all be based in Britain. With a bit of encouragement the companies creating the equipment could all be British as well. They’ll all pay tax on their increased income, and boost the economy with their spending, as will the households now with extra cash from the electricity they’re saving and generating.

Of course the main reason a scheme like this won’t go ahead is because it will do the one thing all politicians are terrified of- it will allow the electorate to become less dependent on the state and the big businesses that pay for all the lobbying.

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I'm the only green MP

Alan Simpson MP details his ecohouse project. An odd aspect of this report is that it appears in the Daily Mail, one of the last newspapers still in denial and desparately trying to find fault with the few things the Government is doing. For example- the assessors for the energy consumption section of Home Information Packs won’t have criminal record checks and will therefore all be burglars, apparently. They’ll also be able to make a lot of money if they work hard (how dare they!).

Alan Simpson’s website

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