Locally-Generated Renewable Energy on Track to Becoming Cheaper and Easier to Use
As you already know from our previous newsletters, we are currently in the pilot testing phase of our Home Hub, as part of our government-funded energy demand management project (or Demand Side Response DSR).
The Energy Local Home Hub is designed to help participants schedule electrical appliance use to match their daily needs, availability of locally-generated electricity, and the best tariff available at the time (known as Time of Use Tariff or TOUT).
Our first Home Hubs are being tested by volunteer households in the Energy Local Bethesda (Cyd Ynni) Club.
Based on feedback we have received thus far, we found that the programming of certain modern electrical appliances makes them difficult to schedule. It would be ideal to be able to control washing machines, dishwashers and tumble driers, but these are problematic. However, other appliances we can tackle now. We are currently working on being able to include a wider range of appliances for the next testing phase. Our aim is to be able to control dehumidifiers, heat pumps and storage heaters.
Understanding the Needs of Different Households
As part of our DSR project, we have created a survey to learn more about energy needs in various households and to work out what types of appliances are currently compatible with the scheduling feature of our Home Hub. This data will be instrumental in projecting the level of shifting each household or Energy Local Club would be able to make, especially if we make shifting easier via the Home Hub.
Shifting your energy use of certain electrical appliances to a different time of day will match generation and demand. Shifting may also create a potential for savings on your energy bills by using appliances when the local power supply can cover your needs or by using these appliances at the lowest Time of Use Tariff.
Please, help us by filling in the survey.
Energy Redress Scheme Could Bring in Prepayment and Better Communications
We at Energy Local are delighted to win funding from the Redress Fund managed by Energy Saving Trust towards creating a communications device to interface with a range of different meters. We will be working with Invisible Response (Invisible Systems, Cumbria) who will undertake the technical development that should make Energy Local more flexible and let Clubs see their data in real time to get even more out of Energy Local.
Not only will this make Energy Local more flexible in the future, but we also aim to use this to include houesholds currently on prepayment meters in Energy Local Clubs.
In addition, Energy Local will be working closely with Bioregional and Repowering to understand the needs of the fuel poor, which means working with various local communities and social landlords to create new practical and sustainable solutions to address these needs.
Testing the Home Hub: Demand Side Response
As we reported in our previous newsletter, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had granted us funding for phase 2 of our Demand Side Response project. This project is now gearing up. We will be testing the Home Hub in a number of households. The Home Hub will allow its user to schedule appliances to run at the cheapest times of the day based on the local energy generation output, how much power the Club is using and the Time of Use Tariff.
However, before we get to that point, the first step will be to show participants their personal load usage every few seconds so that they can see the impact of using different appliances.
We will also be working with local consortium Cyd Ynni to offer advice to those who would like more information on how to use the energy more efficiently.
Welcome to the Team
Welcome to David Waller who will be working with us on the Demand Side Response project and to Rania Alqass who will provide administrative assistance to our team and keep you updated with our latest news.
Demand Side Response
We are pleased to say we have won funding from BEIS for phase 2 of Demand Side Response project. We will be working with Energy Local clubs in Bethesda and elsewhere to work out what appliances households wish to schedule. They will have the chance to try out our ‘Home Hub’ to automatically find the best times to run appliances according to their preferences. There is no ‘Big Brother’, households stay in control, but we hope it will be more convenient to use the Home Hub than not. Along the way we will be asking what else the Home Hub could be used for to support independent living and generally make life easier.
We look forward to working with our partners Open Energy Monitor, ePower, DeMonfort University and SPEnergy Networks.
We are grateful for all those would be Clubs and participants who have had to wait to form their Club. We have had considerable problems agreeing tariffs with electricity suppliers and financing and now sourcing meters. We are working as fast as we can. A big thanks to our regional facilitators, particularly Community Energy Wales, who have helped us in resolving these problems.
Behinds the Scenes of Energy Local
We are pleased to welcome Linda Hilton onto our board. We thought it would be good for her to describe a bit about what keeps us occupied.
Have you ever wondered what Energy Local CIC is doing behind the scenes to help start Energy Local Clubs?
Lots of technical work goes on and we work with our regional facilitators to help develop new Clubs around the country. Here are a few things that we have been doing so far in 2018.
We’ve been working with CEW to develop new Clubs in Wales – Crickhowell, Corwen, Llandysul are just a few. In Oxfordshire, we are working with Bioregional to develop a project in Osney Island and have been involved with a project in Brixton with Repowering London. Energy Local trains new Club Advisors and provides support for these Clubs.
We are constantly developing the Clubs portal to make it easier to make an expression of interest in a Club– you can view it here. Development is continuing to bring everything Energy Local into one place for the future.
We also work with Club members who voluntarily test the changes that we make. Since September 2018 we have been testing our new switching facility.
Club Officers now have an extensive set of documentation and materials to help them recruit new members to the Club.
Since February, the Energy Local Energy Dashboard has a facility where Club members can see monthly reports when they login and a better way to see their use of locally generated electricity and extra electricity all in one place. You can view the Energy Dashboard here.
Energy Local is breaking new ground in the Energy Market.
Mary and the team are continually working behind the scenes on regulatory items concerning smart meters and the infrastructure necessary to make Energy Local Clubs possible. We have one to one meetings,contribute to consultations and provide evidence to Ofgem, Elexon and BEIS. Mary sat on the ‘Future Charging’ taskforce in proposals for new ways to fund how we develop the electricity network.
We do a lot of negotiating with our supplier to get the best possible Time of Use Tariff for our Clubs and this is currently proving a difficult task with wholesale electricity prices across the board at the highest they have been in a decade! Lots of negotiating going on right now and Energy Local won’t give up to get the best deal for Clubs.
BEIS is coming to visit!
We were pleased to be awarded funding for a feasibility study by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy into demonstrating domestic scale demand side response (automatically shifting electricity use to match generation) so that communities can get even more out of Energy Local. This is not ‘Big Brother’, households stay in control but we hope to develop equipment to give you ‘helping hand’.
BEIS will be coming to discuss our plans on Monday. We will be explaining the project with partners Open Energy Monitor and EPower. Our colleagues from SP Energy Networks and Corwen (who are now recruiting for their own club) will also be contributing. Hopefully we can show the merits of our project to be funded for the demonstration.
Thanks to SP Energy Networks…
For supporting our engagement by supplying free LED light bulbs. We have been able to help them by distributing leaflets on what to do in a power cut and about the priority services register (see more info). We also hope to develop projects with them demonstrating how Energy Local can help support managing the network to connect more renewables and new loads such as electric vehicles cost effectively.
We Won An Ashden Award!
We are very honoured to win an Ashden Award 2018 for Energy Market Disruptor. It is a great tribute to everyone who has helped us get this far. Many thanks! More information at here. The judging panel commented ‘This is a simple, efficient way of using electricity close to where it’s being generated, reigniting the community energy movement’
Beca Roberts who supports Ynni Ogwen and works for Community Energy Wales was the star of the film that Ashden made about Energy Local along with households in the Club. It will be premiered at the Award Ceremony in London on the 14th June.
But there is plenty to do!
We can’t afford to rest on our laurels. This month we had a great knowledge transfer session with partners from Oxford and Brixton in preparation of clubs in these areas. Look out for further news or tell your friends in the area. Bethesda is recruiting as is Crickhowell with Carmarthenshire and Corwen soon to launch. Pass the word around! Expressions of interest here.