The Board of Ofgem held their June meeting in Scotland and a number of the Directors, including the Chairman, took the opportunity to visit Rumbling Bridge Community Hydro.
Hugh and Catherine Wallace of Glendevon Energy, Rumbling Bridge’s development and operations partner, hosted the visit and had organised an introductory presentation and site visit for the Ofgem party. Jim Lee and John Malone of Energy4All were also present.
Jim and John were able to describe the community and co-operative aspects of the project. The Ofgem representatives were very interested in the fund-raising process. Jim and John welcomed Ofgem’s positive and active engagement with the community energy sector and also raised and number of general points for discussion, including:
- Difficulty for co-ops to sell generated energy to members
- Observation on the development of electricity networks and concerns around the control and use of system and customer data
- The need for the community voice to be heard during on-going “Smart Grid” development
- Our experience that new export meter installation or change of operator is extremely problematic and costly
The Ofgem Directors were receptive to these points and there was time for more detailed discussion during the tour. The visit was a real opportunity to raise awareness of the community energy sector with Ofgem and some of the issues that the sector faces. Energy4All will maintain and build on the contacts made.