Last year, a whole bunch of 1010ers signed a petition asking the government to make it easier for community energy groups to sell their electricity directly to local people. Here's a quick update.

Right now, community energy groups can't sell their power locally. 

In response to our petition, the government have sent us two letters, so clearly it’s on someone's to do list. But they didn't contain any specifics or concrete next steps.

New kids on the block 

Luckily, there are plenty of groups finding clever hacks and ways to make the current system work for them. Here's a roundup of the most innovative and inspiring projects happening right now. Keep an eye on them, they could be the future of the energy system.

Photo: Energy Loca

Photo: Energy Loca

Special powers: tackling fuel poverty.

Working with Co-op Energy, this project matches people up with the power generated at their local water power plant in north Wales. It boosts the income of the hydro plant and it should save each household over £100.

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Photo: Picl

Photo: Picl

Special powers: matching up good people with renewable energy. 

Piclo is a joint project with Good Energy and Open Utility. Customers can pick where they want their electricity to come from (near or far) and the electricity generators can offer a discount or set premiums.

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Photo: James Burke

Photo: James Burke

Special powers: robbing from the rich, giving to the poor.

Well not quite. It’s a new not-for-profit energy supply business owned by Nottingham City Council. They set it up to give residents a better deal, particularly those struggling to pay their bills and stuck on pricey pre-payment meters. There’s one in Bristol too.

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Photo: Andy Aitchison

Photo: Andy Aitchison

Special powers: electricity supply company majority owned by community energy groups. 

Mongoose Energy have set themselves up as a licensed supplier. They are majority owned by community energy groups, and will be selling the power these groups generate to their customers.

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Photo: Belectric

Photo: Belectric

Special power: adding new solar to the ageing Cornish grid and providing Cornish solar at dirt cheap costs. 

Cornwall’s electricity transmission system has gotten so full of renewables lately there hasn’t been space to add more. So Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network have set up a local energy tariff with super cheap prices when it’s sunny. The trial has just started and they hope people will change their habits to use more of their own cheaper local power. That way less of electricity flows out of Cornwall clogging up the grid, and more renewables can be added to the network.

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Photos used under Creative Commons License