A pioneering ‘smart energy’ project in a Stirlingshire village is powering ahead after more than a quarter of local residents signed up to take part.
The SMART Fintry project, which aims to help cut energy bills and CO2 emissions by linking homes in Fintry to local sources of renewable electricity, has been awarded funding for a second year by the Scot-Govt.
The first of its kind in the UK when it was launched last year, the project aims to set a new blueprint for communities to become more energy-self-sufficient by making better use of local wind, solar and other renewable resources.
In its first six months, more than 80 households in Fintry signed up to a special renewable electricity tariff with new, smarter meters to help monitor their electricity use more closely.
At the same time, the project secured deals to help match their electricity use with the output from three local renewable generators, including two wind turbines and an anaerobic digestion plant – creating a local market for local clean power.
SMART Fintry is funded by the Local Energy Challenge Fund and the project is being run by a consortium of commercial, academic and local partners: including Fintry Development Trust, Veitch Cooper, Energy Assets, Heriot Watt University, and renewable energy supplier Good Energy.
Good Energy aims to develop similar projects with other communities across the UK.
SMART Fintry seeks to balance local renewable electricity generation with local demand. By doing so, the project will address challenges within current electricity regulation and markets and deliver affordable renewable electricity to the local community.
Gordon Cowtan, resident and co-founder of Fintry Development Trust said: “The households taking part have already switched to a special renewable electricity tariff with Good Energy and have had new meters installed to keep track of their energy use.
“Over the next few months, they’ll start to see even more benefits as we launch a new online portal showing them how and when they’re using electricity, and linking this to the output from our local renewable generators.
“In the long run, we hope that by reducing the strain on the national grid smart, local energy systems like the one being piloted in Fintry will help drive down household energy bills and make communities more self-sufficient”.
Jennifer Ramsay, from Local Energy Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic to see Fintry at the forefront of smart energy, and this project is already demonstrating the benefits technology can bring.
“I would encourage every household in the village to find out more about SMART Fintry; it’s a fantastic opportunity to become part of an exciting project with real tangible benefits for local people.”
Will Vooght, Head of Research and Innovation at Good Energy said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from Fintry so far.
“As well as more control over their energy use, SMART Fintry participants have the added benefit of being supplied by 100% renewable electricity – much of it from local sources.”