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Good Energy Announces UK’s First Local Electricity Tariff

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Posted on: 19.11.12

Local Residents Near its Windfarms to Benefit From Lower Bills

Good Energy today announces the UK’s first Local Tariff to reward households near its wind farms with lower electricity bills, pioneering a blueprint to put community interest at the heart of renewable energy generation across Britain.

Customers who live within two kilometres of the company’s flagship 9.2MW Delabole wind farm in north Cornwall, will qualify for its new Local Tariff, offering a 20% discount on its standard electricity prices. It will currently save an average Good Energy customer in the area around £100 over a year.

The discount will be available to existing and new customers from early 2013. The tariff will also pay out a ‘windfall’ credit of up to £50 per household every year that the turbines exceed their expected performance.

Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy, said: “I’m proud that Good Energy is leading the UK wind industry with a new model ensuring that people who live near our wind farms share in their success. Wind power has a huge role to play in meeting the UK’s future energy needs, and we think that 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.”

“When we researched opinion in the local community, there was a very positive response from residents with 68% of those surveyed saying they would consider switching to a Good Energy Local Tariff once the benefits were explained to them.  This response is in line with the many inspiring community projects, such as Gigha in the Hebrides which generates two thirds of its own electricity with three wind turbines which are owned by the community.”  

Susan Theobald, local Delabole resident, says: “Renewable energy projects have always been very close to my heart.  I feel that people living in close proximity to wind turbines would be more sympathetic to this form of renewable energy if they were to gain some advantage from it, such as a favourable local tariff'.

Good Energy’s Local Tariff is replicable across the country and will be offered at the company’s other wind farm sites (over 4 MW) as they are developed.  The tariff fulfills a long-standing ambition of the company to ensure communities benefit from their local wind farm.  Good Energy plans to develop 110MW of new renewable sites by 2016 across a number of technologies.

The future of onshore wind has been hotly debated in the run-up to the government’s Energy Bill, due to be published later this week, with critics arguing that wind farms are being “imposed” on communities. Energy Secretary Ed Davey launched a consultation in September to explore how communities secure financial, social and environmental benefit from hosting onshore wind farms.

The latest government research shows that onshore wind is supported by 66% of the public with 12% opposed, including 4% who are strongly opposed. However, there is evidence that communities become more supportive when they benefit directly from local wind farms. There is much greater public acceptance of renewables in Germany, where two thirds of all turbines and solar panels are owned by individuals, farmers and communities.

Delabole was the UK’s first commercial wind farm, developed by local farmer Martin Edwards as a response to plans for a nuclear power station in the area. He sold his 150-strong dairy herd and milk quota to invest in the project and it opened in 1991. Good Energy bought the wind farm in 2002 and Mr Edwards sits on the board of Good Energy Group.

Good Energy invested £11.8 million to redevelop Delabole in 2010, replacing the original 10 turbines with four larger ones and more than doubling capacity from 4MW to 9.2MW.

The company places a strong emphasis on engaging the community when developing new renewable sites. At Delabole, it held two consultations before the redevelopment where local residents voted to have a smaller number of big turbines rather than a larger number of small ones. It has also held community events and open days. It also pays £9,000 a year into a community fund to support projects that benefit local people.

Mr Edwards said: “The wind farm has always had great support from the community and we’ve brought investment, jobs and tourists to the area. I’m pleased we’ll soon be able to add discounted power to the benefits we bring.”

Good Energy has a history of innovation and has helped change the way the UK generates and uses electricity. Juliet Davenport set up the company in 1999 as the first 100% renewable sourced electricity supplier in the UK. Unlike other energy suppliers, Good Energy specialises in sourcing its power from small and medium-sized renewable generators, including some of the UK’s leading community energy projects.

The company pioneered financial support for renewable generators almost a decade ago, and is now the UK’s largest administrator of the feed-in tariff, supporting more than 40,000 small generators. It also developed the UK’s first Renewable Heat Incentive, HotROCs, using revenues from gas sales to reward customers generating their own heat.