The first Energy Local Club in England has started in Dorset.
Energy Local Clubs are a pioneering initiative developed by the not-for-profit organisation Energy Local CIC. Energy Local Clubs enable trading of renewable energy between generators and consumers at a local level.
The Bridport Club will initially allow householders in the Bridport area to purchase the electricity generated by the 50kW wind turbine at Salway Ash. If the Club is successful, we have plans to extend the Club by adding PV generation into the mix in Phase 2.
Energy Local Bridport is live!
Energy Local Bridport went live in September 2021. The Club started with a ‘mini Club’ of 14 households, who became the first Energy Local Club in England to start operating.
We have been excited to see members matching their electricity use to the wind turbine generation and seeing savings in their energy bills. Now that the mini Club is working well, we are working to expand the Club to its full 55 households.
We are in the process of contacting all the households who have been waiting to join the Club. If you think you are due to join and haven’t heard anything, please get in touch.
It has taken us a long time to get to this point. The project was impacted heavily by COVID 19 and technical delays, so we are now very excited to see the Club starting to trade local renewable energy!
About the Bridport Club
Energy Local Clubs allow households to club together to show that they are using local renewable power when it is being generated, and to pay local generators a mutually beneficial price for that power. Read more about how it works in our Key Information Pack.
The generator for the Bridport Club is the 50kW wind turbine at Salway Ash, owned by Peter Bailey. Club members will pay a ‘match’ price for the wind energy when it is available. The ‘match’ price is cheaper than a normal electricity tariff but more than the generator would otherwise get, so everyone benefits.
Initially, the Club will have 50-60 member households. This number was arrived at after detailed modelling, and aims to strike a fair balance of financial benefits to participating households and healthy returns to the wind turbine.
The modelling suggests that each household will match approximately 10% of their electricity consumption with the wind generation, with an anticipated saving of 10-15% on their electricity bills over a year. Once the Club is operational, ongoing monitoring will assess actual benefits to members compare with those predicted.
The Bridport Club covers the geographical area supplied by the Bridport local substation. This incorporates the whole of Bridport town and the surrounding area from Chideock to Shipton Gorge, West Bay to Pymore and parts of Salway Ash.
- Visit the Bridport Club page on Energy Local
- Contact the Energy Local Bridport Coordinator
- Download the full details about the Bridport Club in our Key Information Pack
The pilot Club is currently over-subscribed. However, by signing up below you can join the waiting list and receive notification when future Energy Local opportunities arise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can households with solar PV sell export to other members of the Energy Local Bridport Club? Is it worth me installing solar PV to sell into the Club?
The answer to both of these questions is yes, we hope so, but not yet.
Due to the complexity of the metering and billing process for Energy Local Clubs, at the moment there is a limit of one generator per Club. We will be monitoring this; if the technology develops to allow domestic PV trading in Clubs, the Directors may well open the Club up to include PV trading. Members of the Club will be informed by the Directors by email once this is possible.
Once it is possible, should members who currently have not got PV install some PV to feed into the Club?
At first glance, it seems like a good idea. If you can sell exports to your community, then there would be a greater financial incentive to invest in PV than there has been for many years. However, we’d like to stress a note of caution. This export rate is available if the electricity can be sold into the Club. The Club works by trading electricity in half hour slots. Whether or not your export could be sold into the Club depends upon how high the demand for electricity is during the half-hour window that you are exporting it. Because many households have a low demand for electricity during the day when people are not at home, there may not be a strong demand for electricity in the Club at the time when the PV is generating.
If demand is higher than supply, you can sell to the Club. If it is not, your export would not go into the Club; you would instead sell your electricity to Octopus for a pre-agreed export price, currently around 5.5p/kWh.
Whilst we think that demand in the Club is normally going to be higher than supply (we have tried to design it this way), we cannot guarantee it until the Club has been up and running for several months, and we have data on how Club members’ electricity use varies.
Once we have data, it may be obvious that demand always exceeds supply, and that the match price for exported domestic PV can be expected (though never guaranteed).
One way to ensure there is a demand for solar PV in the Club would be to bring some new members with high daytime electricity demands – such as local shops and factories – into the Club. These would be demanding electricity when solar panels are outputting the most, and houses that are currently in the Club are using the least. Dorset Community Energy has recently been awarded grant funding to do a feasibility study into adding more solar PV to the Club. Part of this will be looking for sites for a 200-kWp PV array, but part of it will be identifying and signing up businesses with large daytime demands. If this second part is successful, and again after several months of monitoring, it may be that Energy Local Bridport’s Directors open up the Club to new small generators. That would be the point at which you would consider installing on your own roof to sell to the Club. There are many unknowns, so we cannot give a date when this may happen. Sometime in mid to late 2021 is our best current guess.
Work on Energy Local Bridport began in December 2019, funded by development funding from the Power to Change Bright Ideas Fund. Since then Dorset Community Energy has been working closely with Peter Bailey and at Energy Local CIC to form the Club. This has included detailed modelling of the wind turbine output and domestic demand, creating the Energy Local Bridport Co-Operative and recruiting households from the Bridport area.
The public response to the launch of Energy Local in January 2020 was overwhelming. Within 6 weeks of launching, enough households had registered to form a Club, with a considerable waiting list.
Unfortunately, setting up the Club had to pause when COVID-19 struck. Smart meter installations stopped during the first lockdown and there were delays while crucial software was developed.
By September 2021, a small pilot Club was up and running with 14 member households. Having ironed out some glitches we are now working to bring more households into the Club as swiftly as possible.
We think Energy Local Bridport represents a radical step forward local renewables.
If this pilot scheme is successful, we have options for expanding the project further. New generation could be added in a second phase.
Dorset Community Energy are exploring building a ground-mounted PV array, creating additional capacity to supply households or businesses with low-cost solar energy during the daytime.