You’ll need resources to establish your project, develop your business model, establish operational models and run feasibility studies. Electricity systems are complex, so you need a range of skills, knowledge, and expertise within your group or organisation, amongst your partners, and from contributors, some of which you may need to pay for. This includes knowledge and expertise in energy systems, energy markets and business models, control systems and data. You will also need project management and community engagement & development, communications, and process design skills. We recommend that you have at least one ‘energy’ expert on your core team, and at least one ‘social’ expert. If this expertise is missing, you should consider paying a project manager or executive officer to come on board.
There will also be a need for other types of expertise at particular times in your project journey, such as legal skills for writing and reviewing contracts, insurance expertise for brokering insurance, and economic modelling for your feasibility study. This is probably expertise you can commission for those parts of your project, but make sure you budget for this.
On top of these specific skills, you need people with time, energy, and enthusiasm, to make the project a success, and to support your team. You will benefit from having a diversity of people, who can bring new ideas and perspectives. Don’t underestimate the capacity of people to develop new skills and knowledge, when they’re contributing to something they are enthused about. Capacity is not only important for sustaining a local project (noting that a battery may operate for 10 – 15 years), but is also important for achieving many of the social services. You should also think about succession planning (how you will deal with turnover and get new ideas and energy into your project over the term of the project). These are some of the social dimensions of a successful project, which is why you need social expertise in your core team.