Thursday 20th October 2016                 Change text size:

Early success of Good Energy’s local tariff should inspire other suppliers to follow suit

Photo: Good Energy

In January, years of planning finally came to fruition as Good Energy launched the UK’s first local tariff for those living near one of its wind farms in Cornwall. Product innovation manager Will Vooght reflects on what the tariff will mean for community energy.

The introduction of Good Energy’s local tariff involved a lot of hard work to make sure we developed the best scheme possible, but finally it’s here. It sets an ambitious benchmark for the wind developments of the future and puts communities firmly at the heart of renewable energy generation across Britain.

What we’ve come up with is a truly innovative tariff which allows us to create new ways to connect people with their energy. The local tariff will reward households near our wind farm in Delabole, Cornwall with cheaper electricity bills. We’ll also pay out a ‘windfall’ bonus each year when the turbines perform better than expected.

We’re delighted to be the first supplier in the market offering such a scheme as it’s central to our mission to encourage people to connect with their energy. What we hope it will do is enable people to understand better where their energy comes from and ultimately value it more and use it less.

And so far so good it seems. Since we announced the tariff, lots of people have come forward to register their interest.

Local Delabole resident, Susan Theobald, was one of the first to sign up: “I think most people accept that renewable energy is becoming more important to our energy supply especially with the prices of fossil fuels like gas going up and up.

And it’s great to have a renewable energy company ensuring that people in the local community benefit directly from hosting a wind farm through lower bills. In my case Good Energy has calculated that the local tariff should save me around £125 on my electricity bill, and that’s really welcome.”

But the discount is only part of the picture. We want to ensure people who live near our wind farms share in their success, which is why we’ve created our development charter. This is our blueprint for the approach we’re committed to taking when developing new renewable energy sites.

Not only do we plan to introduce a local tariff at all of our future onshore wind farms over 4 megawatt (MW) in capacity, we will ensure that any site we develop acts as a vehicle for community investment. For us, this is just as important as the local tariff as it ties up the different elements in our vision for a decentralised energy market.

We’re setting the standard for other suppliers and developers and we hope they’ll follow our lead to create an increasingly responsible and ethical industry. And if they need any more persuading, the success we’ve seen with the Delabole Local tariff should give the nudge they need to jump on board.

As the windiest country in Europe, the UK has the potential to become world leaders in the development of wind power. We need to capitalise on this opportunity to make sure we don’t get left behind. It’s a really exciting time to be involved in renewables and hopefully the Delabole Local tariff will help boost wind generation in the UK.

We think it’s only right that our local communities should be recognised for their contribution to tackling climate change and reducing the UK’s reliance on expensive imported fossil fuels. So here’s to the continued success of the Delabole Local tariff and to what we hope will become the forerunner to many more such initiatives.

Will Vooght is product innovation manager at Good Energy – the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier.

Further reading:

Good Energy launches electricity tariff to reward local customers

Good Energy to reward residents near wind farms with electricity discounts

OBE for Good Energy CEO

Harnessing the power of a community

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2012

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