Located within the heart of Cardiff City centre gathered a group of individuals in a meeting room at the Jury’s Hotel. The goal of the day, declared from the offset by Chris Blake of The Green Valleys CIC, was to understand what Community Energy needs to do post FIT Review.‘Sitting on our hands, waiting for a new government for the next 5 years isn’t an option’ he declared . Inspiring the audience as we prepared to hear thoughts and ideas from some of the leading thinkers and influencers within this industry.
Some very insightful presentations where shared with a brief Q+A after each segment. First up was Professor Calvin Jones of Cardiff University who kicked things off with a summary of where things stand. It was clear that there are a large number of community energy projects that are totally relying upon the Feed in Tariff and now need to look at altering their business model. He said, ‘There is great potential in Wales, but great change needs to happen’.
Nick Venti of Robert Owen Community Banking Fund, laid out the financial landscape demonstrating the impact of the changes to the Feed in Tariff and what that will mean financially to Hydro, Solar and Wind projects across Wales. We heard from Jennifer Pride representing the Welsh Government who identified multiple resources in place to help and assist with Community Energy projects across the country. Fiona Booth – Department for Energy and Climate Change gave a good presentation on the Community Energy Unit and their recently launched strategy. We heard from representatives from Ofgem, SP Energy Networks and then heard some questions from the floor. There was particular interest around SP Energy’s Community Support and how passionate Rachel was about her cause to help improve the capability of the grid.
We then heard from Clive Tomlinson of Swanbarton who announced,‘I’m embracing the geek factor!’ who then shared his thoughts on Energy Storage with a particular focus on how their business model (which I’m calling the “marrow effect“) would bring communities closer together while empowering energy producers to sell their surplus energy to their neighbour, much like how in ‘olden times’ people would sell their marrows that they grew in their vegetable gardens to their neighbours. This model interested me the most as it had similar characteristics to how we at E-Ventus Energy are going to do something very similar.
The final speaker was Simon Proctor from Bristol Energy who shared the emergence of the first Council owned energy companies whose goal is to bring Social Good to the people of Bristol and help people out of fuel poverty. There was a great emphasis on having a social conscience and how Bristol Energy is very much focused on maintaining that value.
After the presentations ended it was time to break out into discussion groups, topics included ‘What can Wales do?’, ‘Working together better’, ‘Funding Models and Finance’, ‘Local Supply and Demand Management’ and ‘Opportunities for Storage’. All good conversations and issues raised with the aim of attendees networking and identifying possible partnerships and support to help grow and develop Community Energy in Wales.
Overall the information shared from all speakers was informative. As this was the first conference anyone from the E-Ventus Team had attended in the UK it was interesting to hear the different thoughts and ideas shared by speakers and attendees. What was clear though, is that there is plenty of people out there with the right amount of ‘Energy’ and passion, who have a desire to see change happen for the right reasons across Wales. I was excited to see that there are lots of wide and various projects across the country that communities can access.
From an E-Ventus perspective it helped to validate that the model that we’re putting together is going to be an exciting proposition that will bring real value to our customers across the country.
Looking forward to the next one.
Source: E-Ventus Energy
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