Renewables in Hope Valley

HVCA’s Energy Group has just published its study of the feasibility of installing renewables in Hope Valley. The Group is also involved in a related programme of work on energy efficiency and retrofitting homes.

 

Download short Report

We set ourselves 3 simple questions.

1.  How much electricity will we need in Hope Valley as we electrify our homes and vehicles?

2.  What mix of renewables would meet this demand?

3.  What is the range of public opinion to different large scale renewables.

In addition, the study threw up two further issues which we were able to investigate and answer:

4.  What else will be needed, like storage, to cope with fluctuations in supply and demand?

5.  What barriers will need to be overcome to make any of this possible?

Findings

The UK Government has pledged to more than halve our carbon emissions by 2030 and to get to net zero by 2050. The strategy for achieving this includes electrifying our homes and vehicles. Our study suggests that the annual base domestic electricity demand in Hope Valley will rise from 23 to 60 GWh by 2040, which means we will need two to three times as much electricity. 

One mix of renewables that would generate this amount of electricity would be solar on 1 in 3 residential roofs, 2 5MW solar arrays and 3 large wind turbines. We would also need considerable storage capacity to cope with peaks and troughs of demand and supply.

National policy prohibits large scale renewables in national parks. To gauge public opinion and reflect the view of our supporters we conducted a survey in January. 675 people responded.  400 live in Hope Valley, 100 elsewhere in the Peak and the rest are visitors from further afield.  Half are members of a climate group or are HVCA supporters and half are neither. The scope of the survey also covered energy savings, retrofitting and electric vehicles. 

Over half of all respondents (61%) are prepared to consider large-scale renewables in the Peak Park; a quarter might consider them and 13% said no. The majority of respondents are in favour of solar generation in Hope Valley and solar on houses and non-domestic roofs was liked by 90% of respondents. Two-thirds are in favour of ground-based or floating solar arrays and small wind turbines. There is less support for large wind turbines. Nevertheless, 59% of respondents like single large wind turbines and 46% like multiple turbines. There was little difference in opinion by age or where people live. Three-quarters of respondents are in favour, in principle, of large scale renewables in Hope Valley being owned and managed by a Community Benefit Society. 

Barriers

We need the Local Electricity Bill to become law to make community power viable. The National Planning Policy Framework says that permission should be refused for major development in national parks other than in exceptional circumstances, and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest. Northern and Western Power, our two distribution network operators, change millions to connect large renewables into the grid and don’t guarantee the supply contracts. HVCA will be advocating on these issues.  We will also be working with the Peak Park to define the criteria to be used in deciding which of the many areas of the Park would be inappropriate and where renewables might be permitted.

Actions to date

On 9 May 2022 we wrote to Sarah Dines, MP for Derbyshire Dales, and to Robert Largan, MP for High Peak, asking them to support strengthening of the Government’s Energy Security Strategy, and highlighting the importance of renewables and community energy.  We have presented our energy report to 12 local Parish Councils and emailed local District, Borough and County Councillors and those on relevant climate or environmental committees and asked them all to write in support of our letters to MPs. 

Next steps

We will:

1.    Present the key findings of our report at the next meeting of the Peak Park Climate Forum at the end of July and begin conversations with the PDNPA about renewables.

2.    Arrange meetings with senior officers in other national parks that are beginning to address how meeting the Government’s climate action targets can be accommodated in national parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty.

3.    Continue to work closely with Hope Valley Renewables, the Community Benefit Society founded by residents of Hope and Bradwell.

4.    Collaborate with other climate groups both locally and nationally to promote the careful and sensitive development of renewables. 

5.    Continue talking to people in our two DNO’s, Northern PowerGrid and Western Power Distribution.

6.    Closely monitor Ofgem’s regulatory changes that impact on community energy generation and renewables.

7.    Continue to advocate in favour of the Local Electricity Bill.

8.    Continue to lobby our MPs 

Download Technical Study

Download Public Opinion Survey

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8 Responses

  1. Well done to all concerned. Really great evidence to support renewable and good to be clear and transparent about the number of respondents who are affiliated with climate groups in your summary. Let’s hope the peak park can start to support larger scale solar arrays, for example, in the site of one of the large holes in the ground at hope cement works.

  2. I’m very interested in renewable energy and battery storage. I have a property in the Peak District boundary and 2 just out at Dunford Bridge.
    How do I find out how to get more information and advice?

  3. Well done Steve

    A landmark report. I hope it proves influential with the PDNPA, but most of all as you say, we need the law to change to remove the monopoly of the existing generators and distributors.

    Mike

  4. An excellent report and it’s great to see there is an appetite for renewables in the valley. Here at NEC in Bradwell we are just looking at viability of installing solar panels on the roof of our factory. Early days yet but if we go ahead it predicts saving 12,500kgs of CO2 output a year. Just looking at whether any grants are available as the supply and installation cost is substantial. I have asked the Peak Park planners whether approval would be needed for solar panels but have not yet heard back. I believe that we should not require planning approval but it’s always good to check with the Peak Park!

    1. David
      Many thanks for your kind words. We installed 4kw of solar panels on the roof of our barn in 2011. We chose plain black panels that merge discretely into the black corrugated roof. In response to a letter from the PDNPA we wrote to say that, given the climate crisis and the urgency to switch to renewable energy, we didn’t believe we needed planning permission. We heard no more.

      1. Hi Steve
        I have heard back from the PDNPA and we don’t need permission provided the system is less than 50 Kw and isn’t on a surface fronting a highway. It’s a little more complicated than this obviously with requirements for the panels etc but nothing too onerous so we should be OK. The system quoted for us is actually 51Kwp but with one less panel we fall below 50Kw. This is for non-residential buildings.

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Hope Valley Climate Action (Reg. No. 1192830) is a CIO – Foundation.   Registered 17 Dec 2020.
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