If local renewable electricity was cheaper than your supplier, would you be interested?
That’s the question that Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) asked at the launch of its Energy Equality project in April. The launch, originally planned for Wadebridge Town Hall, had to be moved on-line due to Covid-19, and attracted nearly 40 participants, including guest speakers from Loughborough University and University College London.
The meeting, including a question and answer session, is can be viewed here.
Energy Equality involves peer- to-peer trading of electricity which allows local homes and businesses which produce solar electricity to trade their surpluses with homes and businesses which do not, at rates which are beneficial to both. WREN gained valuable insights into how the local community sees the benefits of such a scheme, but also recognised a potential problem.
The launch event attracted mainly those who already have an interest in renewable energy, which meant that many were already solar PV owners. However, to be successful, a peer-to-peer trading system requires a good number of people who don’t have panels and just want to buy cheaper electricity.
Indeed, the whole point of ‘Energy Equality’, encapsulated in its name, is to equalise the benefits of renewable energy across the whole community, so that benefits are not restricted to those who have the right rooftops and can afford to put PV panels on them.
This means that WREN is still very keen to talk to all households who would like to buy locally generated electricity at a lower price than currently on offer from big energy suppliers.
“We need more electricity consumers to understand the benefits on offer and every household needs to sign up,” said Simon Miller, WREN’s community engagement officer. “The Energy Equality Project is not just for those who are thinking about climate change and reducing their impact on the environment. Living in a rural county, we are first to be acutely aware of how important it is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but we can also benefit financially from renewables.”
Around 13% of households in Wadebridge, Padstow and surrounding areas are in fuel poverty. They have to make horrible choices, deciding whether to heat their home adequately or provide a decent meal for their families.
WREN is hoping that Energy Equality will help alleviate this, but it will not be able to make progress if consumers do not become involved. At this stage of the project, investigating the feasibility, there is no risk and no cost except a little time. Just filling in the survey means that WREN will get back to you. If you have already completed the survey, get your local friends and families to do it as well.
Please fill in the WREN two-minute survey to add your support.
More information is available at the WREN website.