SWELL – Shrivenham and Watchfield Energy Local with Longcot


SWELL is a research trial testing an idea called Energy Local. Energy Local aims to make the most of local renewable generation within a community and by doing this, to benefit the generator, the electricity user and the wider community.

WeSET's Role in SWELL

WeSET is the participant coordinator for the SWELL trial. We recruited and we look after 48 trial participants in the villages of Shrivenham, Watchfield and Longcot, close to Westmill. The trial participants are mainly homes, but also Shrivenham Memorial Hall, Watchfield Sports Pavilion and The Eagle pub in Watchfield. Our renewable generation comes from solar PV panels on some of the homes and on Watchfield Sports Pavilion.

Please Note: The trial has now been completed and was successful. The findings are available at www.energylocal.co.uk

The Energy Local Idea

The Energy Local idea involves forming a CESCo – a Community Energy Service Company. We are testing a virtual CESCo in the SWELL trial. Savings in the trial are paid in Midcounties Co-op vouchers.

Participants can earn vouchers in two ways. There is a time-of-use tariff which means electricity is cheapest at times of day when demand is low. So by shifting some electricity use out of peak times, participants save some money. Generators can share the generation they don't use themselves across the group at a price of 6.5p per kWh. This is a cheap price per unit for electricity users and it is also a better price than the export tariff for the electricity generators. Both sides benefit, and this benefit is more likely to remain in the local community.

The SWELL Trial Partners

The SWELL trial is supported with funding from Innovate UK. It is led by social enterprise Energy Local. The other partners in the trial are Oxford and De Montfort universities, technology companies Exergy Devices and Moixa Technology, and social enterprise Energise Sussex Coast. Co-op Energy provide the vouchers that reward participants and advise us with the perspective of a licensed electricity supplier.The Results So Far.....

In the six months of the year long SWELL trial, we have already been able to show that everyone can save at least some money by taking part. No-one hasn't earned vouchers. By shifting their time of use, people will also be using grid electricity with a lower carbon footprint as the dirtiest generation plant comes on line at times of peak demand.

The SWELL trial has already paved the way for Energy Local to be able to run a next stage, end to end trial in North Wales. The success of this second stage trial should make possible a wider rolling out of CESCOs in the UK, allowing thousands of communities to benefit as users and renewable energy generators.

Further Information

For further information about the SWELL trial please contact Sarah James at energy@weset.org.

For more information about all Energy Local trials please see www.energylocal.co.uk

Download our presentation with notes about SWELL.

registered charity no. 1158820

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