Following a grant awarded from the Power to Change Bright Ideas Fund last October, Dorset Community Energy launched the Energy Local Bridport project in early January in partnership with Energy Local CIC and Octopus Energy. Previously all our projects have been based of supplying renewable electricity to schools and community buildings, but Energy Local Bridport aims to be the first example in England of locally generated renewable electricity supplied to households using the existing grid.
Energy Local Bridport will initially supply wind power from the existing 50kW wind turbine at Salway Ash @ 9.5p/ kWh to 50-60 households in the Western Power Distribution Bridport sub-station area. Octopus Energy provides a backup supply when the wind turbine is not generating sufficient power to meet demand.
The level of interest exceeded expectations with over 90 households completing expressions of interest within 2 weeks of the project launch. A new co-operative, Energy Local Bridport Limited, has been set up representing all householders to enable a contract to be signed with Octopus Energy. However the project is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic as participating households need to have smart meters fitted to enable Octopus Energy to meter the local renewable energy supply and invoice at the lower cost. Smart meter installations are currently on hold until the coronavirus risk is reduced.
Dorset Community Energy is hoping to expand the project by adding 200kW- 400kW of ground mounted solar panels to complement the wind energy generation and allow more households and small businesses to join the scheme and benefit from cheaper local renewable energy generation.