AGM 2019: ECOE’s evolving team drives into new community energy era

AGM 2019: ECOE’s evolving team drives into new community energy era

2018 had everything for Exeter Community Energy (ECOE), including progress and recognition, but also change and challenges. Even as some of our solar PV sites entered their fourth year and we strove to keep them running well, we are also developing two new sites. Healthy Homes for Wellbeing’s great work on fighting fuel poverty, and cutting carbon emissions in the process grew even further.

ECOE Members, Directors and Advisors at our 2019 AGM

ECOE Members, Directors and Advisors at our 2019 AGM

We also received more bids than ever for grants from our community fund this year. These successes helped ECOE earn places on the shortlists of two awards in 2018. But the year wasn’t as simple as it may sound – the biggest setback being our inability to progress on the Trews Weir hydroelectric power project. These are just a few of the highlights from the ECOE AGM, held on June 6th. You can read the minutes here, and the annual report here.

New faces at ECOE

Among the board we have been working hard on ensuring ECOE has the right people in place to move forward. This is partly driven by our former chair and chief executive Gill Wyatt’s, decision to move aside to focus on managing Healthy Homes for Wellbeing. Consequently we took on project officer Alan Denbigh to run our PV sites, with Gill’s other roles shared amongst the board. Moving forward we intend the chair role to rotate around the board on a yearly basis, with Tara Bowers now taking over from Patrick Devine-Wright.

Meanwhile, we have welcomed two new advisors to Healthy Homes for Wellbeing, Matthew Axe and Chris Walford. Sarah Rock-Evans also joined Healthy Homes as a project worker. Financial director Vicky Vallis has joined us to replace Peter Bowers, who is also stepping aside. Long-standing board member Miles Davey is also standing down. We are therefore seeking new directors and volunteers to help with marketing, developing new projects and bringing in commercial sponsorship. Get in touch if you’d like to get involved.

First financial surplus

Operationally, 2018 was the second year that we have been running all of our nine solar PV installations. Total generation across all sites for 2018 was 343 MWh, 2% down on 2017. That’s the equivalent of electricity provision for 85 homes for a year. Total carbon savings from solar PV in 2018 are 144 tonnes. This brings ECOE’s total carbon saving resulting from solar PV since 2016 to 363 tonnes.

ECOE’s operating profit grew to £28,692 for the year ended 31 January 2019, up from £18,664 in the year ended January 31, 2018. We also made our first annual financial surplus, which comes in at £6,785! This enables us to again pay interest to ECOE’s members at 5%. This year ECOE will put £3,000 directly into the ECOE Community Fund for projects that help save energy or help with fuel poverty, up from £2,000 last year.

We will be paying out interest at the end of July. If you are a member please ensure your details are up to date by Sunday July 14 using the members’ login on the right hand side of our website. If you usually receive your interest by cheque, we kindly ask you to provide bank details in the members portal for direct payment instead. This helps because it costs ECOE money to produce cheques and send them out. Also, please let us know if you would like to donate your interest to our running costs or community fund by selecting the appropriate option in your members portal, also by Sunday July 14. Any queries regarding this should be sent to Vicky.

  • Unfortunately at the AGM we forgot to ask for approval of the minutes of last year’s AGM. They are at this link. Please let David Thompson know if you don’t accept them by emailing