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Renewable Community Energy in the South Hams


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September 30, 2022

Sustainable South Hams's Louise Wainwright brings us an update on renewable energy initiatives and local energy talks in the South Hams.

There are two new complementary renewable energy initiatives in Devon which support small-scale community renewable energy projects – Local Energy Clubs and Power Allotments Devon

Power Allotments Devon will focus its remit outside the AONB, near the main connections to the National Grid and not on Grade 1 or 2 agricultural land. Local Energy Clubs focus on smaller scale renewable energy projects linking renewable energy projects with local consumers inside the same sub-station area. It is a virtual grid so the Generator site does not need to be near a major connection point to the National Grid. It can be sited inside an AONB and on poor agricultural land. It can use any form of renewable energy. 

Local Energy Clubs

Energy Local UK CIC has developed a scheme for Local Energy Clubs with the support of Octopus Energy and Green Energy UK. Devon County Council funded the recent training by Energy Local UK for the Devon-based groups, led by Totnes Renewable Energy Society, and Western Power Distribution is supportive of the initiative.

Leading community groups are working to reduce local emissions in the South West in Totnes, Ashburton, Bigbury, Blackawton, Bridport and North Devon by initiating the process of developing Energy Local Clubs. If you live within the electricity sub-station areas of these emerging Energy Local Clubs you can register an interest to join them when their power comes on line in 12 to 18 months from now. 

New groups who want to register an interest in starting a new Energy Local Club should contact The minimum size for a local Generator is approx 10 kilowatts. More than one Energy Local Club can be set up within an electricity substation area.

There are hectares of roof space on agricultural buildings, industrial estates and supermarkets in the South Hams which could support the weight of vast solar arrays capable of producing energy locally. Local Energy Clubs offer those living in listed buildings or buildings with roofs not capable of supporting solar arrays or households which cannot afford to buy their own arrays – a chance to benefit from lower energy tariffs because of locally produced renewable energy from the Local Energy Club Generator(s).

Energy Local Clubs bring local consumers of energy (households) together with local generators of renewable energy (e.g. the owners of a solar array). Together they form a co-operative and set a local ‘match’ price for the renewable power. Consumer members can save money by using power at times when it is being produced locally and will then pay the local ‘match’ price.

When there’s no local power (e.g. the sun isn’t shining), members buy their power from a partner supplier (Octopus or Green Energy UK) on a Time of Use tariff, which is cheaper at times of low demand. If the LEC also has a wind or water-powered source of energy the benefits will extend into the winter months.

Local Energy Talks

Sustainable South Hams has set up a new Special Interest Group for Renewable Community Energy. The SIG will be launched at the first Sustainable South Hams Assembly to be held at Kingsbridge Community College on Sat 8th October 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. The delegates are limited to 200 attendees with Eventbrite reservations. If you cannot attend the Assembly you can register an interest in the SIG (Renewable Community Energy) by contacting

The Totnes Climate Hub is organising an Energy Wise event in Totnes Civic Hall on 29th October 12-5pm where people can come to get advice about reducing energy consumption & costs, draft proofing, grants, retrofitting, joining an Energy Local Club, carbon footprint assessment, as well as showcasing some of the low carbon & renewable energy technology available for people.