Project Lead: Fintry Development Trust
Project partners: Veitch Cooper, Good Energy, Energy Assets, Good Energy and Heriot Watt University with technology developed by Open Utility.
Area: Fintry, Stirlingshire
Local Energy Challenge award amount: £841,523.10
Completed: August 2015
A study carried out in 2009 found that 47% of the Fintry community were in fuel poverty, with a major factor being the rising costs of electricity and heating fuel. In a recent survey of 163 households, the Fintry Development Trust found that the average electricity bill was £1, 230 (around 8000 kWh/year at 15p/unit – 4.7tCO2e per home).
The implementation of smart meters was seen as providing the potential to:
- mitigate fuel poverty and carbon emissions
- improve energy efficiency
- secure energy supply
- enhance the local economy and community resilience through sustainable development.
The CARES grant provided to the Trust was used to support the production of a feasibility study focusing on investigating the barriers to the innovative deployment of smart meters in Fintry, and at the Strathendrick Biogas (Anaerobic Digestion) facility.
The project’s idea was to link consumption of residents and businesses in Fintry with the electrical production from Strathendrick Biogas, through matching readings on the smart meters. By achieving this, it was hoped that this would provide an innovative means for overcoming barriers to development of renewables and grid capacity issues elsewhere in the country.
The feasibility report identifies and provides solutions to regulatory or technical barriers to the applicability and use of smart meters in Fintry in this way. It concludes that the project is feasible, but will require successful engagement with the local community, and collaboration between the DNO, a licensed supplier and potentially also a technology provider.
In the event that grant funding to support establishment of a local tariff is not available, the report indicates the project could still be financially viable but would risk a reduced, less diverse customer base leading to greater risk in securing third-party financing.
In practice, matching local supply and demand can be complicated given energy markets and regulations. These barriers can be overcome with the right expertise and determination to challenge traditional business models and industry norms.
The project lead’s advice is to “engage with the appropriate experts early. Be prepared to challenge and rethink methods to achieve your goals.”
Visit the SMART Fintry website.