If an observer were to listen carefully in Linlithgow, as with any other similar town, he would hear the sounds of everyday life, the buzz of traffic; the hum of household appliances, TV’s and machinery. Then at night he would see the street and domestic lights, and ‘through a glass darkly’, the infra-red glow of heat radiating from Linlithgow buildings.
But what he would not see is the hidden flow of economic value – approaching £6.5m for gas and electricity alone (which ignores transport fuel and rural heating oil/calor gas) – which is draining annually to line the pockets of sheikhs, and oligarchs, and the utilities, traders and financial middlemen who come between these producers and Linlithgow’s energy consumers.
The purpose of the Linlithgow Natural Grid (LNG) as an initiative is simply for Linlithgow to attain energy independence, and in so doing to not only cease our reliance upon increasingly expensive and insecure global energy supplies, but also to drastically reduce energy costs for Linlithgow people, businesses and public authorities alike.
In order to do so, LNG aims – through the use of simple ‘light touch’ agreements and updating simple financial instruments which pre-date modern finance – to bring together local and other investment in money and ‘money’s worth’ of resources into a new generation of energy infrastructure at local and very local level.
This distributed energy infrastructure – a physical Linlithgow Natural Grid – will be owned in common and operated by local professionals through a partnership-based ‘co-operative of co-operatives’ agreement which brings together all stakeholders to the common aim of energy independence.
In this way, we believe it will be possible to demonstrate a realistic and pragmatic pathway from a least £ cost economics of scarcity to a least carbon fuel cost and least human cost economics of abundance.
A Utopian aim? With the unique local combination of innovation, ingenuity, humanity and mutuality I believe it is entirely possible for what I have heard described as a Low Carbon Enlightenment to begin here in Linlithgow.