PLANS are in the pipeline to establish a pioneering green energy scheme in Cardigan that would benefit the local community.

A meeting of Cardigan Town Council has endorsed setting up an Energy Local Club in the town and surrounding area.

Councillors heard that the idea behind the scheme is to enable locally generated, renewable electricity to be used by local domestic consumers.

It enables local communities to work together to pool their locally-owned generation and manage local demand to reduce bills and carbon emissions. Energy Local believes that communities should be able to benefit from moving their use of energy to cheaper times of day and matching it to local generation.

Those who join the club will take advantage of the solar/wind/biomass/hydro generation in the local area to save money on electricity bills while supporting local green electricity generation.

Jane O’Brien, from Energy Local, said: “It’s a win-win situation. You can keep the costs of locally generated electricity lower but at the same time generators can be paid a higher amount as we are removing all the steps in the middle.

“We need the right amount of electricity being produced and the right number to use it. It’s a balancing act.”

A successful scheme, set up in 2016, is already running in Bethesda and there is now a waiting list to join it. Another scheme has also just been launched at Crickhowell.

“People join because they can save money, it’s all about renewable energy and keeping money in the local economy,” said Mrs O’Brien.

“But it is not all about having a lower price tariff, it is also about changing people’s behaviour and people becoming more aware of the energy they are using and when they are using it through the use of second generation smart meters.

“Sometimes it will be possible to match all the energy you use to locally-generated electricity. At other times the club will use more than is available.

“For the extra electricity, you will be charged at different rates depending on the time of day. This is a time of use tariff.

“We need to give people information on when energy is being generated – on a sunny day or when a turbine is going full speed. People also need to be encouraged to shift non-time-critical use, such as washing machines, and also use led lighting, or think about slow cooking or batch cooking.

“The minimum saving is about 20 per cent but it can be up to 30 per cent.

“We need to get generators on board and promote the scheme locally. We need to get expressions of interest.”

The project would tie in with Cardigan’s declaration of a climate emergency and also with plans to boost the local economy by concentrating on community projects.

Cardigan mayor Cllr Shan Williams said: “This scheme is not just for people who can afford solar panels or energy generation but also for those in fuel poverty. I think it is an exciting prospect for the town.”