Want to keep it local and save money on energy?

Reducing energy bills is a huge challenge for householders. The ‘big six’ continue to monopolize the market, and with resource scarcity, threats of global warming and ever increasing costs of energy, it makes sense that people want to take control themselves. Community energy is one answer.

Community energy is an opportunity for local people to access the value of their local renewable energy resources. Across the south west we are seeing people coming together with their friends and neighbours to take action on energy. Research from Regen SW indicates that the south west spends almost £3 billion a year on electricity. Most of this money is leaving the local economy but community-owned schemes provide an option to keep the profits generated from energy within the community.

Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) is a leading example of a local community taking action to cut their energy bills and get cheaper electricity. A new “Sunshine Tariff Trial” is in place where households in the Wadebridge area will pay as little as 5 pence per kilowatt hour – about a third of the price charged by most utility companies. Wadebridge found it was spending £10 million a year on energy, and the Sunshine Tariff plans to reduce that cost and retain money within the local economy. This money can then be invested to improve local facilities.

At the heart of these new approaches is a better understanding of the value of power and how to maximise it. With the government’s recent measures to cut subsidies, many people are wondering if renewable energy is still viable. The sector is reacting to subsidy changes by developing new approaches and business models that mean there are still opportunities.

Communities and households looking to find out more about these opportunities and how to reduce their energy bill in a charging market should come along to Smart Energy Marketplace at Sandy Park on 17 March. We want as many people along as possible to attend so we are offering members of community energy group’s significant discounts to attend the event. Find out more here.

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