Help us create ‘energy communities’
Energy Local is a new way to enable local communities to work together to pool their locally owned generation and manage local demand to reduce bills and carbon emissions. Energy Local believes that communities should be able to benefit from moving their use of energy to cheaper times of day and matching it to local generation.
Who is Energy Local?
Energy Local has been set up to develop new systems so communities can benefit from pooling and using their own generation directly rather than selling it at a loss. It also lets them buy power for less at cheaper times of day. We were formed to help you save money and carbon and manage your energy use. This is done using new relationships with energy suppliers, smart meters and technology to give you a helping hand in how you use power.
We are still developing the idea and we are running pilot trials. We will be recuiting for projects starting in September – let us know if you are interested.
A community could be a street, a village or those involved in the local school, club or place of worship. It could also be small shops or businesses. We would like you to help shape our work.
What would this mean in reality? Let’s take an example of a school. There are great projects where mums and dads, friends and neighbours get together and buy solar panels for the school. The trouble is at the weekend or during the summer holiday when the school’s out, because the power is not being used on site when it is generated, it has to be sold for 5p/kWh and then bought back at over twice the price by someone living next door. The community are not getting the true value from their investment nor retaining the income locally.
With Energy Local, that community could form a legal cooperative organisation –, think of it as an Energy Local Club and negotiate with an energy supplier. The supplier would fit smart meters. The great thing about smart meters is that they show when households has used power as well as how much. So within the community can show who was using power when the solar panels were operating. The supplier sells each member the extra power they use that was not generated locally.
As well as saving on energy bills, if the community is paid for the power that the solar panels generated this can be used to buy more renewable, fit energy efficiency or keep the sports club going – whatever a community chooses.
A supplier can also sell power more cheaply when it is cheaper for them to buy it.
To help household match their use to generation we are supporting the development of a home energy hub to schedule appliances to switch on at the best time of day.
Energy Local is especially good for social landlords. Let’s take another example. Social landlords are trying to find ways to help their tenants who are struggling to pay their energy bills. One way is to fit solar panels to tenants’ roofs but this only helps those in south facing homes and not those in flats. With Energy Local their tenants could form an Energy Local club to share the renewable power. A supplier would fit smart meters so whoever is using the power when it is generated could get the benefit.
In addition the supplier can offer cheaper price for the power not generated locally in the middle of the day or at night. For those of a tight budget they can get a further benefit.
The social landlord could use the income from the generation to fit energy efficiency or more renewables.