The SWELL Celebration Event (photo by Adrian Arbib)

Tom Parkinson presents Nan Pratt with an award (photo by Adrian Arbib)

Robin Morris reports on the results of the SWELL trial (photo by Adrian Arbib)

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SWELL – Shrivenham and Watchfield Energy Local with Longcot: : Celebration Event and Results

The SWELL Research trial tested an “Energy Local Club” in the villages of Watchfield, Shrivenham and Longcot, which are near to Westmill, for one year from the end of 2015.

In an Energy Local Club, members can buy and sell their locally generated renewable electricity amongst themselves before buying from or selling to the wider grid, and they can take advantage of a time-of-use tariff. This means that electricity is cheaper at times when it is plentiful compared to demand.

This helps to support local, renewable generation and ensures that it is local people who benefit most from it. It keeps more economic benefit in the local economy.

WeSET was a partner in the trial, recruiting and looking after the local participants that made it possible.

On 17th March 2017 we hosted a SWELL Celebration Event to thank our wonderful participants and to share the results of the trial with participants and a wider audience.

There were a few special awards to participants: Penny Hockley and Nan Pratt won our ‘SWELL Community Champion’ awards for all their help right from the beginning in recruiting participants locally. Ed Billiet won the ‘SWELL Bug Fixer’ award for helping us to get things right in the early set-up of the trial equipment and interface. John Mart won ‘SWELL Night Owl’ for his particular dedication to making the best use of off-peak electricity. Kevin O’Donoghue won ‘SWELL Super Shifter’ for a his effective shifting of time of electricity use during the trial, compared to before.

A number of partners involved in the trial spoke to highlight the key results and the next steps:

• Robin Morris of Energy Local spoke about the results we saw in the SWELL trial. Everyone in the trial made savings from shifting their electricity use to cheaper times or from selling their own generation.

• Jo Hamilton from Oxford University Environmental Change Institute reported on their finding on participants attitudes and motivations before, during and after the trial.
• Richard Snape from De Montfort University reported back on the results of modelling the SWELL trial in software, and the resilience of the business model to altering the size and make up of the Energy Local Club, the type of generation and the local climate. You can download SWELL modelled – The Movie here. (With thanks to Richard Snape of De Montfort University for letting us share this.)
• Mary Gillie of Energy Local spoke about the next steps for Energy Local – including the next stage trial of an Energy Local Club which is underway in Snowdonia
• Mike Blanch introduced the audience to WeSET (Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust) and its activities to support sustainable energy use and generation, including hosting over 10,000 visitors to Westmill wind farm and solar farm to date.

A summary of the SWELL trial findings can be found at www.energylocal.co.uk

Video by Richard Snape of De Montfort University

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Wind farm location: Westmill Wind Farm, Watchfield, Swindon, SN6 8TH - beside A420 and off B4508