15 December 1995

Boost for local power stations

SUGGESTIONS that electricity boards plan to charge distant customers more than those closer to power stations could boost the prospects for farm-based power generators using home-grown fuels.

Devon grower Alick Barnes, who has 14ha (35 acres) of short rotation coppice on an ETSU demonstration unit at Loyton Farm near Tiverton, believes that by 1998 new legislation will allow companies to introduce "rolling scale" charges based on distance. "It will stimulate local power plants," he says.

ETSUs Dr Caroline Foster admits that with privatisation of the grid system "all sorts of things could happen". "But its all pure speculation at the moment," she adds.