1. A truly SWELL celebration!
As many of you know, the SWELL pilot project has been working with 48 households in the three towns of Watchfield, Shrivenham and Longcot to match energy demand to local solar domestic electricity production and shift energy demand to lower price periods (rewarded in shopping vouchers). The pilot has been testing equipment that has been designed to control electrical devices, (in particular storage heaters and water heaters).
As the project draws to a close we had a great turnout of participants and supporters to our celebration event where we heard about the results of the project and everything that has been achieved. Prizes were awarded for the best demand shifter, community champion, and bug fixer, amongst others. We’ll be sharing the results and presentations from the day soon on our website. Big thanks to all participants and special thanks also to Sarah James from Weset who worked on the ground with local households and project partners and without whom the project may never have got going.
The project has been made possible by a number of partner organisations who deserve our thanks. Cooperative Energy, Exergy Devices, Oxford University ECI, De Montfort University, Moixa, Weset and Energise Sussex Coast.
2. Energy Local travels
Energy Local has been travelling up and down the country. Mary was very pleased to be invited to a Community Energy Scotland workshop in Inverness to discuss the next steps for community energy and how Energy Local can fit together with and support other projects ranging from remote island power projects to fuel poverty initiatives in tower blocks.
Meanwhile, Tom presented at Regen’s Smart Energy marketplace in Exeter and renewed contacts in Devon and Cornwall where there is a constrained electricity network, with very limited capacity for handling additional local electricity generation, but where there is huge potential for community renewables.
Next up, Mary will be discussing Energy Local at the NEA (National Energy Advice) Cymru Fuel Poverty Workshop.
3. Roll out of the Energy Local model – 2017 and beyond
Working with Community Energy Wales, Community Energy Scotland and Repowering London we are scoping out the next potential Energy Local projects. There is plenty to do behind the scenes to prepare before we can get these projects going but we are getting ready to roll!
The projects will be dependent on fitting together all the bits of the jigsaw – funding, partners and energy generation opportunities and we’ll be using our scenario modelling tool to work out how to target the next pilot schemes.
4. Bethesda pilot project – up close and personal
Climate charity 10:10 visited Bethesda for the day to get the last few shots for an Energy Local film about energy demand shifting and to interview participants about how they’ve been getting on so far. There were some great stories told about how extra cash savings on energy bills had been spent on days out with the kids and how proud people felt to have this project happening in their area. More on this soon!
5. Thanks to our tech project partners
Open Energy Monitor, Energy Assets and EPower are working hard with us to improve the data communication with the smart meters and our energy dashboard as part of the Bethesda pilot. In due course, we will be developing a “home hub” to help schedule household appliances which will make demand shifting for households a great deal easier in future.
1. Bethesda trial – cost cutting energy bills!
Good news – word on the street is that since joining the project a couple of months ago some people are already starting to see their energy bills come down! Great news!
We are continuing to fit smart meters for newer joiners – this is an essential element to the project as it enables us to track how much energy is being used at different times of the day and then match this to local renewable energy output. We also continue to move participants onto the Energy Local energy tariff in partnership with Co-operative Energy. Over 100 people are currently taking part in the trial and we will be recruiting more participants from the Bethesda area in the coming months once Ynni Ogwen completes their community-owned hydro scheme in the area.
This is a learning curve for all of us involved and behind the scenes, we are developing new systems to automate the processes needed to set up a scheme. This will make the whole system more efficient and user-friendly, ready for when the time comes to expand this model across the UK. We are also going to be launching a new website with additional resources and support for participants – watch this space!
2. 2017 and beyond – roll out of Energy Local model
Last month we spent a great couple of day’s working out the next steps for Energy Local with community energy practitioners from Wales, Scotland, the North of England and London. Thanks again to everyone who took part – it was great to have so much expertise in the room. We all need incentives so we awarded ourselves chocolates along the way. Thanks to climate charity 10:10 for all their help organising this.
We have also incorporated an Energy Local CIC (Community Interest Company – a form of social enterprise), which will eventually become a membership organisation for Energy Local Clubs as they develop, having learned some valuable lessons from the Bethesda trial.
3. Tools for new Energy Local Clubs – could your scheme stack up?
Chris and Robin at Energy Local have been busy improving our modelling tools with some help from Community Energy Scotland and Local Partnerships to help groups to look at the financial viability of potential projects with different types of renewables (e.g. wind, solar, hydro) and buildings (domestic and non-domestic), and identify the best way of forming an Energy Local club. This will be one of a number of tools and resources we’ll be offering to community energy groups setting up projects later this year.
4. This months blog – Cyd Ynni = Energy Together
Mel from Partneriaeth Ogwen, is one of the key people running the Energy Local pilot project in Bethesda. She tells us more about the place, the people and the realities (warts and all) of running this scheme and shares some lovely pics from local events. Click here to read more.
Energy Local founder shortlisted for Women in Innovation Award
We’re very pleased to announce that Dr Mary Gillie is a finalist in Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation awards. She’s been selected as one of the final 34 candidates, from a strong field of 442 entries. As a finalist, she recieves mentoring, training and guidance. She’ll also have the chance to pitch for an award of £50,000 to support innovation activities, with winners announced in November. Best of luck, Mary!
19 October 2016
Autumnal vampire-hunting to keep energy bills low
A friend of Energy Local, Craig, was inspired to take a look at his own energy consumption, and especially the ‘energy vampires’ that gently consume power even when we think they’re switched off or at rest. Read how he went on, and his old vs new ‘fridge consumption stats…
19 October 2016
Big Energy Saving Week 2016
The annual push to reduce household energy bills – Big Energy Saving Week – starts on 31 October. We’re very pleased that Judith Kaufmann, one of the Cyd Ynni:Ynni Lleol champions, has provided Energy Local with her top ten energy saving tips.
Bydd yr ymgyrch flynyddol i leihau biliau trydan cartref – Wythnos Fawr Arbed Ynni – yn dechrau 31 Hydref. Rydym yn falch bod Judith Kaufmann, un o bencampwyr Cyd Ynni:Ynni Lleol, wedi creu rhestr o ddeg awgrym arbed ynni i Energy Local.
Community Energy Award 2016 winners
Energy Local was delighted to be associated with the winner of the Collaboration Award at the Community Energy Awards 2016. The Collaboration Award is given for outstanding work between community and commercial/public/third sector partners, and was recieved by Keith Jones (National Trust) on behalf of Cyd Ynni, the consortium of five community energy organisations with whom we are working to get our first Energy Local trial (Cyd Ynni-Ynni Lleol) up and running in Bethesda. Congratulations to them all: a well-deserved recognition of their hard work.
Cyd Ynni:Ynni Lleol – first meters installed
Another milestone was reached for the Cyd Ynni:Ynni Lleol project! The first meters have been installed in homes in Bethesda, north Wales.
New Energy Local blogs
Save the Date! – Community Energy Wales event, Bethesda, Thursday 15 September 2016
A date for your diary – Community Energy Wales (CEW) is organising an event in Bethesda on Thursday 15 September 2016. This event will highlight some of the different ways community energy organisations are revolutionising the way we consume and use energy. More information is available here and will be updated over the summer.
29 June 2016
With sunny skies, May proved to be a bumper month for SWELL. Of the 6,124kWh generated from participants’ solar panels, over half was shared around the community (3,222kWh) and less than 10% exported to the grid. For half the month, solar power met a fifth or more of participants’ power demand. The total value to the community was £668 for May, made up of savings from using off-peak power and locally-generated solar energy, and from payments made to those sharing the energy generated from their solar panels. We’re pleased to see that some households are using only between around 5-12% of their electricity during the evening peak.
29 June 2016
Energy Local and Co-op Energy are working with households interested in being part of the Cyd Ynni: Ynni Lleol club to switch their energy supplier and to have a smart meter fitted. We are waitng for the Financial Conduct Authority to approve the constitution of the Cyd Ynni: Ynni Lleol energy club, and this will give us a template to use with other Energy Local projects
Also – welcome to Judith Kaufmann, the newest person on the Cyd Ynni: Ynni Lleol team. She’ll be responding to queries, and arranging drop-in sessions and events during the trial, as well as being a participant.
26 May 2016
Working with social landlords in Bethesda
We are very pleased that the Cyd Ynni: Ynni Lleol trial has the support of three social landlords in Bethesda: Grwp Cynefin, North Wales Housing Association and Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd. Energy Local has this week held a drop-in session at the Ogwen Partnerships office for tenants who are interested in getting involved, and a mobile information bus will be doing the rounds on 6-8 June to provide more opportunities to talk about the project with local residents.
23 May 2016
On top of any local generation used at 7p/kWh, Cooperative Energy will sell power at the following prices for the Cyd Ynni – Ynni Lleol trial:
26 April 2016
Energy Local has made a major step forward with our Bethesda-based project, Cyd Ynni-Ynni Lleol. With the great support of our project partner TMA (who collect and manage data from our electricity meters) and advice from Ofgem, we have reached an agreement for the ‘behind the scenes’ processing of the data from Elexon. It’s great that TMA and Elexon are keen to find innovative ways of working. This all means that we are now ready to carry out the first trial. We are pleased that Ofgem is supportive of our innovative approach and will be looking to the project to see how it benefits consumers: it’s about participatingin the energy market as well as delivering lower bills.
28 February 2016
Recruiting now for our Bethesda trial with Cyd Ynni
A huge thank you to the Welsh Government and the Energy Saving Trust who have provided funding for a first stage trial in Bethesda, North Wales. Working with Ynni Ogwen and Partneriaeth Ogwen, we will be helping residents to reduce their electricity bills while supporting a local hydro power project.
We are now recruiting households in Bethesda to be part of the trial. The project is called Cyd Ynni:Ynni Lleol, and more information is available at www.energylocal.co.uk/cydynni (there’s a form to complete if you want to be involved) or email email@example.com. If you live in the area, or know someone who does, and would like to find out more, please get in touch.
We are organising information events for residents who are curious about the project, with presentations and the chance to speak to someone from the project team.
Byddwn hefyd yn trefnu sesiynau galw i mewn i roi cyfle i bobl gofrestru a chael mwy o wybodaeth. Bydd y sesiwn nesaf yn Swyddfa Partneriaeth Ogwen ar y 13eg o Ebrill am 1 o’r gloch.
There will be further drop in sessions, the next one will be on April 13th at Partneriaeth Ogwen’s Offices at 1pm.
More information is available here.
28 February 2016
SWELL trials – January results
Energy Local’s Oxfordshire-based SWELL trial is investigating how to help people change the time when they use electricity. The idea is to minimise demand during peak times and to match electricity use with locally-generated power from solar panels.
Data from project participants tells us that nearly a fifth of the power demand came during the morning peak. But there were quite significant household variations in this pattern of electricity use. So, one household works hard to keep in control and, for example, does the washing when it’s sunny. Their efforts mean that only 6% of their electricity was used during the evening peak in January!
A typical day’s electricity use during January was a total of around 700 units for all participants. We knew that the January figures for power generation from the solar panels would be low, as it wasn’t particularly sunny and the sun is low in the sky at this time of year. There wasn’t a great deal of spare power to share with SWELL participants, but even so, each participant had access to 3 units of local solar electricity during the month. We expect this figure to grow quite quickly in the coming months, particularly if we have sunny days.
28 February 2016
Thanks to all our SWELL participants!
Many thanks to the SWELL participants who braved the weather to attend the drop-in session in Shrivenham Memorial Hall on 13 February. Tom, Mary and Robin from Energy Local were joined by Jesse Scharf from the charity 10:10, who are helping us show participants how they are getting on in the trial.
During the session, we were able to clear up a number of technical questions and chat about energy-related issues. Participants borrowed two energy monitors to find out more about the energy use of specific appliances (thanks to the Environmental Change Institute for the loan of these monitors). We also discussed the large amount of electricity used by halogen lights in kitchens and how to identify suitable alternative LED lamps. We are hoping to do more on lighting in a future drop-in session.
28 February 2016
Energy on the move
Energy Local’s own Mary Gillie is keeping track of her efforts to shift her personal energy demand.
“I thought it was time that I practised what I preach and see what load I can shift in my house. Not being a ‘gadget freak’ there, I don’t have lots of widgets. I have an outdoor covered area for drying clothes, so don’t have tumble dryer and I wash my dishes by hand. However, I cook on electric. My heating is biomass boiler which uses a bit of power and I have solar thermal for water heating.
Like many people with a busy life I rush in and out of the house a lot, so making sure I have enough clean underwear and getting the hoovering done at all can be a challenge as it is!
So what have I managed? I have put the washing on in the middle of a sunny day, or at night. While I have a delay function on the washing machine, I naturally keep late hours so switching the machine on before I go to bed works quite well. My washing machine also has a eco setting (20 degrees), and I plan to look at the difference in energy consumption between different settings – I will report more next month.
I have an allotment that I tend to visit at the weekend. I often do bulk cooking of the produce ready for the week ahead, and I try to do this before the evening peak. I have just bought a slow cooker so that I can leave it to cook over night. Being lazy, I have established that for vegetables I can ‘just put it all in together’ and let it cook! I am considering using a timer to help me schedule this. I have also investigated baking in a slow oven over night, rather than heating the whole of the oven up – something else to report back on next month.”
25 February 2016
Taking our message to electricity distributors
Energy Local was pleased to be invited to speak to senior figures in the electricity distribution industry this month. In her presentation to the Acumen 2016 event, Dr Mary Gillie talked about Energy Local’s work in community energy and the prospects for electricity distribution network operators (DNOs). These are the people who provide the final stage of electricity distribution, converting power from high voltage lines to the lower voltage electricity that they then distribute to our homes and businesses.
We are delighted to be in touch with Scottish and Southern Energy, the DNO for Oxfordshire, who are interested in the results from SWELL (see early results above) and in understanding how it might be used to reduce costs and make their systems more efficient. Likewise, we are in discussion with Scottish Power Manweb, who operate in Bethesda, North Wales, to see how we can work together to share the results of our forthcoming trial (above).
29 January 2016
Linking local energy and economy
As part of our continuing development work in Wales, and we are delighted to be working with Chris Blake, Chair of Community Energy Wales to investigate how community energy can be used to develop local economies. The North Wales community organisations that form Cyd Ynni commissioned this work, but it is likely that many of the findings will be applicable elsewhere.
26 January 2016
First results for SWELL trial
Despite grey skies, SWELL participants still achieved savings in the first month of the trial. A forthcoming drop-in session with participants will explain the results and provide time for further discussion. In the mean time, Energy Local has provided participants with data showing their energy use over the last few months so they can see their progress. We will be working with low-carbon group 10:10 to develop ‘top tips’ for making changes to the times electricity is used, and finding better, clearer ways to display the data. Hopefully we can all learn together.
22 January 2016
New trial in North Wales: Cyd Ynni & Ynni Lleol
Cyd Ynni (Energy Together) is a consortium of five community energy groups in Bethesda in North Wales. Energy Local (Ynni Lleol in Welsh) is working with Cyd Ynni to develop a new trial in the area (read about our meeting here). If you live in the Bethseda area, keep an eye on our tweets, newsletter and website for more details.
Energy Local is wins Best Business Innovation for Regen SW Green Energy Awards
Energy Local won the Regen SW Best Innovation Business Award at the awards ceremony at Bath’s historic Assembly Rooms on 25 November 2015. Thanks for all the support. Busy year ahead.
5th September 2015
Energy Local is Highly Commended for the Community Energy Innovation Award 2015
Energy Local was Highly Commended for the Community Energy Innovation Award. Administered by Community Energy England in association with Energise London and the Community Energy Coalition, there were a number of categories to recognise the good work within the sector. More information about the awards and the ceremony at Community Energy Awards. Thanks to everyone who has helped us get this far!
Friday 10th July 2015
Energy Local Wins prestigious Stephen Lloyd Award
Energy Local won the inaugural Stephen Lloyd Award on Thursday 9th July 2015. In memory of Stephen Lloyd, it is awarded to support new social enterprises that aim to initiate systemic change in society. www.stephenlloydawards.org
Shortlisted to the last 10 candidate social enterprises from 103 applicants, Energy Local presented its vision of its market and social innovation that can transform the lives of 100 000s by tackling fuel poverty and create a cleaner, greener future by accelerating the growth of community renewables. The other 9 candidates also offered exciting and valuable initiatives and therefore the competition was stiff and was decided on a vote from supporters.
Not only does it provide Energy Local with funding but also a network of valuable in-kind support, all of which will allow us to accelerate the development of Energy Local and benefit communities faster. We are hugely grateful for the support and enthusiasm for Energy Local that in itself renews our energy.
Time to deliver!
Energy Local and Westmill feature in The Guardian
Energy Local and Westmill get a mention in an article by Leo Murray in the Guardian 10th July 2015 – ‘The UK energy system is in thrall to giant utilities – all at customers’ expense‘.
We are a bit of good news in a report on the problems of the UK energy market.
‘Reserve’ places available on our SWELL trial
Official Energy Local Launch
Energy Local had its official launch as part of the fantastic Community Open Day held at Westmill Wind and Solar Farm on Saturday 20th June.
Jonathan Porritt CBE spoke and visitors had the opportunity to stand inside a 50m wind turbine; walk among 20,000 solar panels; make a solar panel & windmill and race wind-powered model cars. The people behind UK community energy successes were available to chat over ice-cream and coffee inspiring visitors to cut their fuel bills.
Energy use and its Cost
We have written a leaflet on ‘Energy use and its Cost’
25th February 2015 – Ofgem’s Non-Traditional Business Model (NTBM) Discussion Paper
12th March 2015 – Energy Local Respond to Ofgem’s NTBM Discussion paper