A trial in a Welsh village could change the way communities buy electricity
A community energy trial in Wales could change the way we buy our electricity by taking advantage of local renewable projects. By clubbing together, 100 households in Bethesda will be able to purchase the power generated by a local hydro scheme for half the price.
The aim is to help communities benefit more directly from renewable energy projects in their area.
Several organisations have been involved in pulling the pilot together and it could be rolled out across the country if successful.
The trial aims to help communities support green energy projects by making sure the power is used locally and does not have to travel for miles. This in-turn reduces costs for the local members who go on to use the energy.
Each home will pay 7p/KWh for their share. That is about half the average price for electricity in the UK, but more than the hydroelectric plant would usually receive for selling it.
To maximise the benefits of the deal, the habits of each member household will have to change. For example, they’re encouraged only to use large appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers after it’s rained and the hydro is running at full pelt.
The use of the power is conceptual and the households aren’t directly connected to the hydroelectric plant. Instead, they use smart meters to determine their energy usage. The energy itself is provided by Co-operative Energy, which buys from the hydroelectric plant and sells it at the reduced rate to the members.
Energy Local, the organisation behind the Bethesda project, has set up a handy dashboard that tells users when it’s best to use electricity, the different costs and how much energy the hydro is generating. Take a look here.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
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