You might expect Anne and Chris Billing to be pin-ups for the UK Government’s green energy revolution. After all, at a time when it was going to take decades to recover the cost of erecting their own wind

turbine, this Orkney couple took the plunge regardless because they wanted to reduce their carbon footprint. The initiative taken by such early pioneers encouraged others to follow their lead and provided manufacturers with a useful test-bed for their products.

However, instead of rewarding them for their zeal, the government’s new Clean Energy Cashback system, actually penalises them. While households who have installed domestic turbines like theirs since last July will receive 27p for every unit of electricity generated, equipment installed before that date does not qualify for this so-called feed-in tariff. In fact, the payment they get for exporting excess energy to the grid will fall from 9p to 3p a unit. So instead of earning an annual tax-free income of some £5,000 for “doing their bit” for the environment, the Billings will receive around just £1,800…

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