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Member Meeting

Thursday 7th May 2020, at 4pm, Zoom Meeting



Nigel Hargreaves (Chairman)                    (NH)

Luisa Jobson (Secretary)                            (LJ)

Tom Abbott (Events)                                   (TA)

Leslie Grahame                                            (LG)

Sean Gough  (Communications)                (SG)

James Vaccaro                                            (JV)

Jan Davis                                                      (JD)

Esmee Thorntom                                         (ET)

Martin Sleeuw                                               (MS)

Jamie Osborn                                               (JO)

Garry  Alexander                                          (GA)



1. Introduction to the meeting by Nigel Hargreaves (Chair)

  • Introductions by all attendees.
  • We are looking at business models because the Community Energy (CE) landscape has changed with cuts in subsidies; FiT, urban community energy fund and various other financial support that community energy use to receive.
  • Need to understand what projects work for NCS, the route to market and what are the co-benefits which come with community energy.

2. Presentation of draft project models for discussion and selection to develop as our value proposition (Chair + open discussion)

  • Archetype 1 – Individual premises (self-consumption)
  • Aims:
    • Import offset/avoidance
    • Extensions to include EV/V2G charging and onsite static battery storage
    • Utilisation of stored energy to engage in other revenue schemes –
      • Aggregator contract
      • VPP sleeving (corporate PPA)
      • Aggregator contract
      • UKPN network flexibility bid for contract
    • NH – In talks with other CE organisations to develop an offering to water companies, potential opportunity to supple some of their energy demand Linking water and energy poverty and the environment by with other groups.
    • SG – When talking about utility projects, what can be said about public aspects that apply to this particular archetype -> NH – Utilities are under regulations that have set them targets they must achieve, NCS could assist in helping these targets be met. If a community benefit fund can be set up on the back of a successful project, NCS other community organisations creating positive local benefits.
    • Archetype 2 – Multiple Premises (S/C, sub-metered)
    • Archetype 3 – Eco development (S/C, multiple settlement)
    • LG – Advantages and disadvantages of each individual building having its own meter, it would encourage people to be frugal with their electricity use, but there might be a case for sharing the electricity that they generate so for example the person who has their house in the shade gets the same benefit as the person with their house in the sun – NH – In archetype two, energy generated collectively is directed back to the development who’s premises are sub-metered for what they are importing, so they are sharing the solar.
    • JD – What about retrofitting where there is an isolated development? – NH – Retrofitting is possible in all of these archetypes under suitable conditions. One condition is that for an established development, everyone would have to agree to it whereas a new development, it would almost be written into the contract when buying the premises, whether it be a house or office.
    • Archetype 4 – ‘Charge my Street model’ (with additional self-consumption and storage options)
      • Charge my Street payment plan includes –
        • 35p/kWh PAYG
        • £20/month light user ((86kWh and 22p/kWh thereafter)
        • £30/month medium user (136kWh and 22p/kWh thereafter)
      • It has been drawn to show various options, including:
    • Use of some of the onsite generation capacity to offset import to the premises
    • A community co-located static battery to soak-up surplus renewable energy, when not used by the premises or EV charging. This would extend the duty cycle of the EV charger into times when renewable energy is not available on site (eg. at night). It could also be charged from the grid import connection under favourable night time tariffs for discharge into vehicles at other times.
    • At times when no stored or renewable energy is available onsite, the import connection will be used.
    • Renewable energy can also be sourced over a private wire from a ground array should space permit (unlikely in an urban setting).
      • SG – Does this help with locating sites for an array? – NH – NCS would encourage the community to get involved and carry out a feasibility study, fundraise and deliver project.
      • JV – Does this type of project work in terms of wiring, e.g. busy street with multiple arrays on houses, how do we link them? – NH – Situate EV chargers near an electricity substation which supply electric to the street, would make connection cheaper and potentially easier.
      • MS – Must take a customer orientated approach to Archetype 4, very difficult to bring individuals together to achieve projects with multiple people. Customers will be looking for NCS to take the risk and offer the expertise, the projects should be priced accordingly with this. – NH – Charge my Street aims to encourage the community to fundraise for their own project, so they are shareholders the project as well as benefit from it.
      • NH – More info on Charge my Street website –
      • SG – What direction does NCS want to head in? 1) We prioritise the archetypes in what we think will work best and be a success, then work specifically on the highest rated as a large team. 2) Split off into four teams and target each of the archetypes separately as they are all equally valid and have the potential to be successful – NH – The more diverse NCS can be, the more potential projects we could apply our archetypes to. Beyond this, when NCS understand what will work in theory, we can publicise it as an offering. There is not a one size fits all solution.
      • LG – If you are trying to get 25 people to cooperate, debts should maybe be to the house rather than the people as people could move homes – NH – NCS could look into this further – JV – Is occurring in other countries but must consider legislation as issues with whether it is fixed to the house.
      • JA – Management contract in place for established communal buildings (block apartments), could build into the management contract schemes of this kind, if everyone agrees. i.e. Riverside buildings in Norwich could be good potential option for this as these people are likely to be buying EV’s – NH – Archetype 4 has been demonstrated in remote places with great success. There is a case to influence developer’s mindsets to get them onboard as community energy is crucial to achieved the net zero goal by 2050.
      • JA – How do we influence developers and councillors to get onboard? How is community energy going to be achieved? One way this can be achieved is through influencing planning policy, spatial planners can influence planning policy, so how can NCS influence the spatial planners to be a) sympathetic to these approaches b) to change the policies so they can reach their targets – NH – NCS have not had enough conversations with decision makers regarding these problems. The answer is that we need the cooperation to come from both central and local government.
      • MS – Planning deals with land use and not in any level the commercial arrangement or the way in which something is done. They just control what uses are permitted for specific land. Thus, NCS must appeal to developers, we must convince them that their end purchaser/tenant is going to be in favour of community energy, must have a clear message to developer stating how community energy will benefit them and their clients.
      • JA – Important that NCS engages with local groups, e.g. Norfolk Constructing Excellence. By targeting local groups NCS will build-up a support network which will be able to rely on for sourcing and establishing new projects.


3. Presentation of how we communicate the NCS value proposition (Sean Gough)

  • NCS needs a set framework to approach different projects in terms on the messages we are going to deliver, how we deliver it, how we approach clients.
  • Areas to look at;
    • Business model – Optimise targeting and value proposition -> Configure for grant-aid and review member messaging and benefits
    • Operating model – Define system for identifying -> prioritising and initiating new projects -> build stronger links to key decision makers and align with partners who can help NCS win
    • Messaging – Renew messaging to align with new business and operating models -> more active engagement with members -> obtain greater visibility and membership push.
  • JV – In context in terms of the archetypes, it is very helpful that we have the options, however the overall development of a relationship is very necessary when proposing projects to potential clients. From a project perspective, it is important to focus NCS’s approach. There are lots of ideas and a risk of being too diverse. In terms of landing project one, NCS should undersell and overdeliver a simple project, this will be a starting step to begin looking at more complex opportunities in the future. It is important to focus projects on community ownership, in both the financial and non-financial returns, keeping to this will help other stakeholders better understand NCS.
  • MS – Have the housing associations been approached yet? Good potential contact for NCS – NH – No, we have had a lack of people available to us to network in the Norwich community, would be a good step in the future to establish teams of committed people to share this movement with the community.

4. Next steps

  • NH – Article –
    • Valuable bits of information which discuss community stake ownership that have meaning.
  • JO – A community energy event may be a good opportunity to help locals understand more about NCS and community energy – NH – I agree this would be a good opportunity to get councillors and other stakeholders such as Anglian Water, Chambers of Commerce, New Anglia LEP, CPRE, Broads Authority, Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor involved.
  • JD – Would be good to get a Tory MP on board, possible the new MP for Broadland, Jerome Mayhew, as he has environmental interests.
  • GA – Important to consider community energy landscape after Covid-19, previous challenges may now become open doors, due to public perceptions changing and community energy potentially becoming a new core part of society.
  • NH – Anglia Water, NCS potential project update, been in conversation with strategy manager and head of renewable energy, company has a commitment to be net zero by 2030, thus keen to install renewable energy to drive the water system.

Chat box messages

  • JD: Archetype 4 applied to medium rise city blocks?
  • LG: Development companies pr and social responsibilities teams might be worth approaching as well as planner.
  • NH: I think we are weak on finding new projects.
  • NH: Can do a lot more to find out what our members want I think
  • JD: For rural projects consider approaching parishes throughout Norfolk through the newly established Climate Safeguard Project promoted through the Norfolk Association of Local Councils (NALC)
  • NH: How about a community energy convention?
  • NH: Mailchimp & facebook stats and analysis already gives us an idea of who is interested in and following our posts.
  • JD: A Community Energy Convention alongside carefully selected partners to link with complementary projects such as through the Community Land Trust (promoted by Broadland DC last year in a one-day workshop).
  • JD: Several older and smaller rural sewage treatment works fall into the 50 – 100kW power consumption range and they also have the land through no longer utilised sludge drying beds that could be ideal for solar arrays. Certainly worth talking to AW about possibilities.
  • JV: I particularly like the potential for Water Co sites because there’s the potential to do many of a similar form (e.g. here’s another project – it’s new, but it’s kind of similar to the last one. Good a developing a track record…
  • JD: It sounds like we need a Marketing Team!?
  • JV: …(also, water co sites are likely to have more predictable energy demand – right now I wouldn’t want to put money on office’s having consistent demand especially if they might not open again!
  • NH:
  • NH – next steps – NH, SG, ET + anyone else who would like to get involved, to discuss formulating a communication plan which will include the idea of drawing individuals in/resilience/post Covid building better conference. Could potentially include a range of organisations who want to co-produce that with NCS.

5. Close