At the United Nations Framework on Climate Change conference in Katowice in December 2018 the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait rejected a motion to welcome the latest study. Australia remained silent. But despite national Governments taking a strategic stance over what they see as their own short-term interests, progress is made. I want to tell you about Annette Heslop, who (also in December 2018) was presented with an MBE* from HRH Prince William. An MBE (Member of the British Empire) is one of the highest awards given to British civilians, and was in recognition of Annette’s contribution to community-owned renewable energy projects.
by Harvey TORDOFF
Turn back the pages a few years. I first met Annette in the late 1990’s. She was the only employee of Baywind Energy Co-operative Ltd, which had been set up in 1996 by a group of Scandinavian entrepreneurs. They had established several community-owned wind farms in Sweden and thought they could replicate the model in the United Kingdom. Baywind, in Cumbria, was to be the first of many. Two share offers were launched, and enough money was raised to buy three small wind turbines. There were three more turbines on the site, but as no more money had been raised the Scandinavians retained ownership. I became a shareholder, although I didn’t think of it as an investment. I didn’t expect to see any returns, but I believed in the concept. In those days warnings of climate change and global warming were confined to sandal-wearing tree-huggers, but I accepted the principle and I also had an ulterior motive. If the world generated more of its energy from sustainable natural resources it would become less dependent on fossil fuels from unstable or undemocratic states, and global tensions would diminish.
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