We held our first AGM on Tuesday 20th June in brilliant sunshine and we filled Shalfleet Village Hall – thank you to so inutesany members for coming along. Dale and Dee had arranged everything to perfection and we were well provided with tea and cakes and a constant flow of cool drinks to combat the heat.

I was able to open the meeting with good news. We are on course to greatly reduce the effects of the outages that SSE had announced earlier in the year.  At our low point we thought we might have to face losing half our income for the year, but it now looks like that will be just 15% or less.  After concerted efforts by Rob Rabinowitz at Mongoose we managed to engage with SSE at a high level and also drew together a consortium of the other affected generators on the Island.  Once SSE started to take us seriously we were able to better understand what was happening and find ways to minimise the impact.

A 15% loss of income is still not the best news and it means that this year we will not be able to make any payments of members’ interest or contributions to the community fund.  However, we expect to go into 2018 having met all of our operating and financing obligations and with a much reduced chance of suffering from outages, so hope to have spare cash by the year end.

For the longer term, the good news is that we now have a strong relationship with the other generators on the Island and know who to talk to in SSE.  This is important in working towards our objective of increased energy independence for the Island.

At the AGM, Rob and I made a presentation to members that not only reported where we are with the outages but also outlined the global context for sustainable energy and WCE’s objectives for the Island. The slides from the presentation are available here.

Moving on to the more formal business, I was very pleased that three very strong candidates put themselves forward to join our board:

  • Michael Lilley
  • Charlotte Rayner
  • Laurie Tenant.

In addition, the existing board members offered themselves for re-election. All were elected by a unanimous show of hands.

We agreed to hold a quarterly board meeting and to make each of the agendas and minutes available to members. We will give advance notice of meetings, so if you have any issues you wish to see raised at the meeting please let us know.  We are hoping to hold our first meeting during the week commencing 10 July, and I will let you know as soon as I have a final date.

We also recognised that our communication with you has not been up to scratch, but I believe that the systems are now starting to work as they should and we will do better in the future.

The official minutes of the AGM are now available to read here. The presentation slides are available to view here.

These are exciting times for the sustainable energy transition, not only on our small Island, but across the globe.  Big coal is in retreat everywhere and sustainable energy it taking its place. In parallel, the smart grid revolution is gathering pace and electric transport is growing exponentially.

Best wishes,

Colin Palmer
Wight Community Energy