activism energy

Balcombe – the village that said yes to solar

We-are-REPOWERBalcombe-1024x682The name Balcombe may ring a bell – it’s the Sussex village that was in the news last year as one of the pilot sites for Britain’s nascent fracking industry. It spent the summer under siege as anti-fracking campaigners camped in the village to obstruct the drilling activities. It left the community somewhat shell-shocked, and divided between those who supported the protestors and those who thought they were just as disruptive and messy as the frackers.

Balcombe became the epicentre of the storm around Britain’s future energy, a position it never chose. Now that things have settled, it has had a chance to regroup and the response is a symbolic one, a positive statement on energy after all that protest. REPOWER Balcombe is a community energy co-op that aims to generate enough solar power to provide electricity to all 760 homes in the village.

The first solar panels will go up on a farm in the next few weeks, with local investors using their own capital to start the project. Once it is underway, people from around the country will be able to invest too.

The community has been working with 10:10, and it’s a powerful statement, one of the more positive energy stories I’ve read in a while. Balcombe will not just be the village that said no to fracking. It will be the village that took responsibility for its own energy, and chose renewable.


  1. That’s a great positive outcome. I hope they get to spread their message far and wide. Just goes to show what can be achieved once people start talking round a table.


    Since the end of the Great Depression—and especially since the 1970s—the class warfare waged by business and its allies was successful. For example, at the end of World War II, for every dollar Washington raised in taxes on individuals. It raised $1.50 in taxes on business profits.

    In contrast, today, for every dollar Washington gets in taxes on individuals, at gets 25 cents in taxes on business. Business and its allies successfully shifted most of the federal tax burden onto individuals. Over the same period, the tax rates on the richest Americans fell from 91 percent in the 1950s and 1960s, and 70 percent in the 1970s to the current low rate of 35 percent. The richest Americans won that spectacular tax cut. Middle and lower income Americans won no such cuts, while paying a higher proportion of their income for Social Security that the rich were required to do. In plain English, the last 50 years saw a massive shift of the burden of federal taxation from business to individuals and from rich individuals to everyone else. Class war policies, yes, but a war that victimized the vast majority of Americans.

  3. Yes, it definitely is in Sussex and I knew that. I just read that Cuadrilla are opening up new sites in Lancashire, so I had it on the brain. Thanks for pointing it out!

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